NEA National Heritage Fellowships Celebrations Upcoming
Awards ceremony and concert honor recipients of nation's highest honor in folk and traditional arts
September 8, 2009
Washington, D.C. – Eleven master artists from around the country, representing eleven distinct folk and traditional arts, will be honored in Washington, D.C. the week of September 21st for events celebrating their receipt of a 2009 National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. The fellowship is the highest form of federal recognition of the folk and traditional arts. Representing a cross-section of cultures, including cowboy, South Asian, Appalachian, and West African, and preserving such diverse art forms as accordion-driven zydeco, willow basketry, and New England contra dance, these awardees were chosen for their artistic excellence and contributions to our nation's living cultural heritage. The fellowship includes a one-time award of $25,000. The NEA National Heritage Fellowships public programs are made possible through the support of the Darden Restaurants Foundation and its family of Red Lobster, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, The Capital Grille, Bahama Breeze, and Seasons 52 restaurants.
Capitol Hill Awards Ceremony
NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman and Members of Congress will present the 2009 NEA National Heritage Fellowship Awards in a Capitol Hill ceremony on Tuesday, September 22 at 5:30 p.m. in U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, South Theater, located on the east side at First Street and East Capitol Street, NE, Washington, DC.
On Thursday, September 24, at 7:30 p.m., the Fellows will perform at a free special concert, held at the Music Center at Strathmore, located at 5301 Tuckerman Lane in Bethesda, Maryland. Nick Spitzer, host of PRI's American Routes radio program, will emcee this exciting evening of performances, craft demonstrations, and artist interviews.
Free tickets are available from two locations: the Music Center at Strathmore Ticket Office, 301-581-5100 or www.strathmore.org, and the House of Musical Traditions, 7040 Carroll Avenue, Takoma Park, Maryland, 301-270-9090.
PLEASE NOTE: Though the concert's free tickets may be entirely distributed in advance, there will be seating available beginning 15 minutes before curtain. The NEA encourages those without tickets to arrive 20-30 minutes early.
The 2009 NEA National Heritage Fellowship recipients are:
The 2009 Bess Lomax Hawes Award is awarded to Mike Seeger, a musician, cultural scholar, and advocate from Lexington, Virginia. The Bess Lomax Hawes Award recognizes an individual who has made a significant contribution to the preservation and awareness of cultural heritage. Mr. Seeger passed away on August 7, 2009. His wife, Alexia Smith, will accept the award on her husband's behalf at the Capitol Hill Awards Ceremony and be interviewed as part of the NEA National Heritage Fellowships Concert. In addition, the concert will include a performance by fiddle player Richard Bowman and banjo player Marsha Bowman Todd; this father/daughter duo was personally chosen by Mr. Seeger to represent him at the concert.
In order to better understand and appreciate these artists' contributions, the NEA website features in-depth audio interviews with the fellows discussing their work, history, and efforts to perpetuate their art for the next generations. In addition, there are interview transcripts, photos, and bios. Please go to www.arts.gov/honors/heritage/ for more information.
About Darden Restaurants, Inc.
Darden Restaurants, Inc., (NYSE: DRI), the world's largest full-service restaurant company, owns and operates nearly 1,800 restaurants that generate more than $7 billion in annual sales. Headquartered in Orlando, and employing 180,000 people, Darden is recognized for a culture that rewards caring for and responding to people. Our restaurant brands – Red Lobster, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, The Capital Grille, Bahama Breeze and Seasons 52 – reflect the rich diversity of those who dine with us. Our brands are built on deep insights into what our guests want. For more information, please visit www.darden.com.
About the National Endowment for the Arts
The National Endowment for the Arts is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts, both new and established; bringing the arts to all Americans; and providing leadership in arts education. Established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government, the Arts Endowment is the largest annual national funder of the arts, bringing great art to all 50 states, including rural areas, inner cities, and military bases. Please visit the NEA website.
National Endowment for the Arts · an independent federal agency