Molly Neptune Parker selected for the highest award from the National Endowment for the Arts
6/21/2012 10:05:17 AM
National Endowment for the Arts Announces 2012 NEA National Heritage Fellowship Recipients
Recipients of nation’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts to perform in Washington, DC October 4, 2012
June 19, 2012
Washington, DC — "Basketmaking for me is about innovation and creativity within the context of a traditional art form," said basketmaker and 2012 NEA National Heritage Fellow Molly Neptune Parker. The same words apply to all recipients of the 2012 NEA National Heritage Fellows, which recognizes folk and traditional artists for their artistic excellence and efforts to conserve America’s culture for future generations. The fellowships are the nation’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts, and include a one-time award of $25,000.
Throughout their careers, these artists have honored the history of their art forms while also incorporating their own creativity and innovation to carry the art forms into the 21st century. For example, Harold Burnham, 11th-generation in a line of boat designers and builders, creates his vessels using hand tools and incorporating locally harvested wood, just as members of his family did some 300 years ago. However, while rooted in the past, Burnham's designs demonstrate his own blend of form and function. Another 2012 fellow, Leonardo "Flaco" Jiménez, learned to play the accordion from his father, a giant of this early Texan-Mexican tradition, but then went on to collaborate with contemporary musicians such as the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, and Ry Cooder.
This year’s nine recipients are masters of diverse traditional art forms, including two that have never before been honored through the National Heritage Fellowships: Okinawan dancing and dog sled and snowshoe building. In addition, for the first time ever, the NEA is recognizing a director of a state arts agency for his work in promoting the importance of the folk and traditional arts in defining and giving life to a community.
The 2012 NEA National Heritage Fellowship recipients are:
- Mike Auldridge, Dobro Player (Silver Spring, MD)
- Paul & Darlene Bergren, Dog Sled and Snowshoe Designers and Builders (Minot, ND)
- Harold A. Burnham, Master Shipwright (Essex, MA)
- *Albert B. Head, Traditional Arts Advocate (Montgomery, AL)
- Leonardo "Flaco" Jiménez, Tejano Accordion Player (San Antonio, TX)
- Lynne Yoshiko Nakasone, Okinawan Dancer (Honolulu, HI)
- Molly Neptune Parker, Passamaquoddy Basketmaker (Princeton, ME)
- The Paschall Brothers, Tidewater Gospel Quartet (Chesapeake, VA)
- Andy Statman, Klezmer Clarinetist, Mandolinist, Composer (Brooklyn, NY)
* Albert B. Head is the recipient of the Bess Lomax Hawes NEA National Heritage Fellowship award. The Bess Lomax Hawes Award recognizes an individual who has made a significant contribution to the preservation and awareness of cultural heritage.
Profiles of the artists are available in the Lifetime Honors section of the NEA's website, along with photos, audio, and video samples of their work.
"At the NEA, we are working to invest in, support, and celebrate all the arts in this country," said NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman. "From the tidewater gospel traditions of the Paschall Brothers to Mike Auldridge's innovative approach to the Dobro and Andy Statman's work in reviving klezmer music, these nine NEA National Heritage Fellows are not only national leaders in their art forms, but also leaders of their communities in which they live, work, and create."
The 2012 awardees will come to Washington, DC, in October for a series of events including an awards presentation and banquet at the Library of Congress, as well as a concert scheduled for Thursday, October 4, 2012 at 7:30 p.m. at the George Washington University Lisner Auditorium in Washington, DC. Free tickets will be available this fall. Check the NEA website for more details.