National Endowment for the Arts
National Heritage Fellowships
This fellowship program recognize artistic excellence and support of artists who make continuing contributions to America’s nation's traditional arts heritage.
This year’s award winners are masters of art forms ranging from Native-American basketmaking, to Laotian khaen playing, to Mardi Gras Indian traditions. These recipients of the 2016 NEA National Heritage Fellowships are receiving the nation’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts.
Not only are these individuals highly accomplished artists, they are also dedicated to sharing these art forms with new audiences and teaching a new generation of artists. Each will be awarded $25,000 and the recipients will be honored at an awards ceremony and a concert in Washington, DC, this September.
The NEA National Heritage Fellowships highlight these artists who have worked to ensure that these artistic traditions will continue for generations to come.”
The recipients are:
- Bryan Akipa (Sisseton, SD) – Dakota Flute Maker and Player
- Joseph Pierre "Big Chief Monk" Boudreaux (New Orleans, LA) – Mardi Gras Indian Craftsman and Musician
- Billy McComiskey (Baltimore, MD) – Irish Button Accordionist
- Artemio Posadas (San Jose, CA) – Master Huastecan Son (Mexican Musical Tradition) Musician and Advocate
- Clarissa Rizal (Juneau, AK) – Tlingit Ceremonial Regalia Maker
- Theresa Secord (Waterville, ME) – Penobscot Nation Ash/Sweetgrass Basketmaker
- Bounxeung Synanonh (Fresno, CA) – Laotian Khaen (free-reed mouth organ) Player
- Michael Vlahovich (Tacoma, WA/St. Michaels, MD) – Master Shipwright
- Leona Waddell (Cecilia, KY) – White Oak Basketmaker
Profiles of the artists are available on the NEA’s website, along with photos and audio and video samples of their work.
About the National Endowment for the Arts
Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America.