NEA National Heritage Fellowships

Make a Nomination

            

Deadline: July 17, 2014

To honor and preserve our nation's diverse cultural heritage, the National Endowment for the Arts annually awards up to eight NEA National Heritage Fellowships to master folk and traditional artists. These fellowships recognize lifetime achievement, artistic excellence, and contributions to our nation's traditional arts heritage.

 

The folk and traditional arts, which include crafts, dance, music, oral traditions, visual arts, and others, are those that are learned as part of the cultural life of a community whose members share a common ethnic heritage, cultural mores, language, religion, occupation, or geographic region. These traditions are shaped by the aesthetics and values of a shared culture and are passed from generation to generation, most often within family and community through observation, conversation, and practice.

Nominees must be worthy of national recognition and have a record of continuing artistic accomplishment. They must be actively participating in their art form, either as practitioners or as teachers.

In addition, one NEA National Heritage Fellowship will be given to an individual who has made major contributions to the excellence, vitality, and public appreciation of the folk and traditional arts. The nominee should be worthy of national recognition and must be actively engaged in perpetuating the folk and traditional arts. Named after the influential advocate, educator, and producer of the folk and traditional arts, Bess Lomax Hawes, this award recognizes:

  • An artist whose contributions, primarily through teaching, advocacy, organizing, and maintaining important repertoires, have greatly benefited their artistic tradition.
  • An individual such as a producer or advocate whose efforts have significantly increased opportunities for and public visibility of traditional arts and artists.

Recipients will be selected on the basis of nominations from the public. Nominations may be for an individual or for a group of individuals (e.g., a duo, but not an incorporated organization). Nominees must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States. Posthumous nominations or awards will not be considered. Individuals who have previously received an NEA lifetime honor award (National Heritage Fellowship, Jazz Masters Fellowship, or an Opera Honor) are not eligible.

Awards will be up to $25,000 and may be received once in a lifetime. No payment will be made to the estate or heirs of a deceased recipient.

How to Submit a Nomination

Nominations are accepted by using our online nomination form. Please see the description of a complete nomination package below. Individuals may be nominated specifically for the Bess Lomax Hawes NEA National Heritage Fellowship, and all nominees will be considered for this award.

An individual may submit one or more nomination(s) in each round of the NEA National Heritage Fellowships and no one may nominate him/herself.

A complete package should not exceed 20 pages in length. Excess pages will be removed and not be reviewed. Each nomination should have a separate nomination package.

We encourage you to attach and submit your documents as PDF (portable document format) files electronically.  However, you have the option of submitting these items in an email or in hard copy directly to the Arts Endowment. Specific instructions are outlined below.

Submitting Electronic Nomination Material

The following attachments may be attached to the online nomination form to comprise a complete nomination package. Each attachment file size limit is 1 MB (megabyte).

Using PDFs allows you to preserve the formatting of your documents so they can be presented to reviewers exactly as you intend. If you don’t already have software to convert files to PDF, there are many low-cost and free software packages that can do this. In the past, some nominators have printed their electronic documents and then scanned them, saving the scan in PDF format. PDFs created this way are much larger, and of lower quality, than PDFs created by the methods we recommend. Do not embed non-printable media files (video and/or sound) in your PDF documents. Static images (e.g., pictures) are acceptable. Please do not enable any document security settings or password-protect any PDF file you submit to us.

Attachment 1: A statement/letter that details the reasons that the nominee(s) should receive an NEA National Heritage Fellowship. Describe the nominee's contributions to his or her particular artistic tradition and explain why this individual or group deserves national recognition.

Attachment 2: Work Sample Index

For each work sample that you are submitting for your nomination, provide the information below as relevant to your nomination:

  • A letter designation. Start with "A." List your samples in the order in which you want them reviewed (e.g., A, B, C). Make sure that the letter on the Work Sample Index corresponds to the letter on the sample work itself. Each different CD, DVD-R, DVD-ROM, link, etc., should be considered one work sample. For digital images on a CD, each set (not each image) should be considered one sample; follow your Work Sample Index with a script that identifies each image separately.
  • Format, e.g., CD (audio), CD (data), DVD-R, DVD-ROM, link, printed material.
  • Identification of the artist(s) featured (e.g., African-American gentleman wearing black and white striped shirt on stage).
  • Title or description of the work or activity

Any special instructions for reviewing the sample, and, where relevant, specific selections on that sample. Include, as relevant:

  • The relevant track or chapter numbers, in priority order.
  • Real elapsed time or cue information indicating the start of different selections, in priority order. Note your first cue as 0:00. If your second selection starts five minutes later, note the start of that as 5:00, etc.
  • For websites, the URLs for the pages to be shown, as well as any necessary information on required plug-ins or the navigation path.
  • Any other information necessary to guide reviewers easily to the selections that you want.

Attachment 3: List of a maximum of five support letters that you will be mailing directly to the Arts Endowment. Or, you may attach actual support letters in one document as a PDF no larger than 1 MB.

Attachment 4: If the information is not included on the nomination form or letter, attach a
résumé  or short biography that outlines the career of the nominee(s), a list of major public appearances or exhibitions by the nominee(s), and the titles of published works, if any.

Submitting Mailed Work Samples or Nomination Material

In addition to the material that you submit electronically through our online nomination form, you may mail materials directly to the Arts Endowment. If you mail work samples, please label all materials with the name of the nominee and your name so that we can match your mailed material with your electronic nomination.

The National Endowment for the Arts continues to experience delays and damage to support material (e.g., CDs) in the delivery of First-Class and Priority mail through the United States Postal Service (USPS). We recommended that you use a commercial delivery service.

You may submit a maximum of five support letters that demonstrate expert and/or community support for this nomination, as listed in Attachment 3.

For any additional mailed material, use only paper clips and rubber bands to fasten your material. Do not bind or staple support letters, articles, or any other written materials.

Send mailed material to:

NEA National Heritage Fellowships
Folk & Traditional Arts
National Endowment for the Arts
Constitution Center
400 Seventh Street S.W., Third Floor
Washington, DC 20506-0001
Cheryl T. Schiele, Folk & Traditional Arts Specialist
Phone: 202/682-5587
E-mail: schielec@arts.gov

NOTE: Support material will not be returned except under the most special circumstances. Please do not send the only copy. You may submit additional material in support of your nomination at any time. However, if the review process for the current round of fellowships has started, the staff will retain your material for consideration in future years.

Work Sample Preparation

Work samples are a critical part of your nomination package and are considered carefully during review. Your work samples should include recent, concise, and high quality examples of the nominee’s work. Your nomination package will not be considered complete without work samples.

Audio Samples

Submit no more than five (5) selections, one copy each. Each selection should not exceed five minutes.

You may submit a link to an audio sample or mail a single CD containing all five selections.

If you submit a link:

Submit a PDF along with the Work Sample Index that you upload to Attachment 2 on the online nomination form. If you are including more than one website, submit no more than five and list them all on a single page of the Work Sample Index. For each site, list the URLs for pages to be shown; include any necessary information on required plug-ins, or navigation paths.

Digital images

Submit no more than 20 digital images on a DVD or CD, one copy each. Image size should be consistent; 800 x 600 pixels is suggested. Each image/file has a size limit of 5 MB. Acceptable file types are jpeg, gif, and tif.

You may submit a link to a digital image or mail a single DVD or CD containing all 20 selections.

If you submit a link:

Submit a PDF along with the Work Sample Index that you upload to Attachment 2 on the online nomination form. If you are including more than one website, submit no more than 20 and list them all on a single page of the Work Sample Index. For each site, list the URLs for pages to be shown; include any necessary information on required plug-ins, or navigation paths.

Video Samples

Submit no more than three (3) selections, one copy each. Each selection should not exceed five minutes.
You may submit a link to a video sample or mail a single DVD containing all three selections.

If you submit a link:

Submit a PDF along with the Work Sample Index that you upload to Attachment 2 on the online nomination form. If you are including more than one website, submit no more than three and list them all on a single page of the Work Sample Index. For each site, list the URLs for pages to be shown; include any necessary information on required plug-ins, or navigation paths.

Publications and catalogues

Submit no more than three (3) publications as a PDF.  You may submit a link to a publication or catalogue or mail a single CD containing all three selections.

If you submit a link:

Submit a PDF along with the Work Sample Index that you upload to Attachment 2 on the online nomination form. If you are including more than one website, submit no more than three and list them all on a single page of the Work Sample Index. For each site, list the URLs for pages to be shown; include any necessary information on required plug-ins, or navigation paths.

Deadline for Nominations

Nominations must be submitted online or received (not postmarked) by mail at the Arts Endowment no later than 5:30 p.m., July 17, 2014. Fellowships will be announced in the summer of 2015.

Review of Nominations

The selection criteria are artistic excellence, significance within the particular artistic tradition, and contributions to living cultural heritage.

Nominations are reviewed by an advisory panel of folk and traditional arts experts and at least one knowledgeable layperson. Panel recommendations are forwarded to the National Council on the Arts, which then makes recommendations to the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. The Chairman reviews the Council's recommendations and makes the final decision on all the award recipients.

Nominations remain active for a total of four years unless selected.