25th Anniversary of the NEA National Heritage Fellows Program - Launch

On Thursday, June 28, 2007 nineteen NEA National Heritage Fellows from across the country gathered with more than 100 other guests at the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill to help kickoff the 25th anniversary of the NEA National Heritage Fellows program. Senators Edward Kennedy, Mike Enzi, and Thad Cochran joined in the celebration. A photo exhibit of 32 Fellow portraits taken by Tom Pich was on view in the building's rotunda.

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NEA Chairman Dana Gioia, 2001 NEA National Heritage Fellow Peter Kyvelos (from Bedford, MA), and Senator Edward Kennedy. Photos by Michael Stewart

NEA Chairman Dana Gioia, 2001 NEA National Heritage Fellow Peter Kyvelos (from Bedford, MA), and Senator Edward Kennedy. Photos by Michael Stewart

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Mississippi senator Thad Cochran stopped by the festivities and spoke with Chairman Gioia. Photos by Michael Stewart

Mississippi senator Thad Cochran stopped by the festivities and spoke with Chairman Gioia. Photos by Michael Stewart

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2003 NEA National Heritage Fellow Martin Goicoeachea (from Rock Springs, WY) presents his portrait to Senator Michael Enzi. Photos by Michael Stewart

2003 NEA National Heritage Fellow Martin Goicoeachea (from Rock Springs, WY) presents his portrait to Senator Michael Enzi. Photos by Michael Stewart

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A view from above looking down in the rotunda of the Russell Senate Office Building at the portrait exhibition. Photos by Michael Stewart

A view from above looking down in the rotunda of the Russell Senate Office Building at the portrait exhibition. Photos by Michael Stewart

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Milan Opacich (2004) from Shereville, Indiana stands with Tom Pich by his portrait in the exhibition. Photos by Michael Stewart

Milan Opacich (2004) from Shereville, Indiana stands with Tom Pich by his portrait in the exhibition. Photos by Michael Stewart

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Vanessa Paukeigope Jennings (1989) stands by her portrait in the exhibition. Photos by Michael Stewart

Vanessa Paukeigope Jennings (1989) stands by her portrait in the exhibition. Photos by Michael Stewart

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Spanning the 25 years of the Fellows program are Philip Simmons (1982) who at 95 years old is one of the few remaining from the first class of Fellows and Diomedes Matos from the most recent class of 2006. Photos by Michael Stewart

Spanning the 25 years of the Fellows program are Philip Simmons (1982) who at 95 years old is one of the few remaining from the first class of Fellows and Diomedes Matos from the most recent class of 2006. Photos by Michael Stewart

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Sam-Oeun Tes (1998) acknowledges the applause as she is introduced to the rest of the reception guests. Photos by Michael Stewart

Sam-Oeun Tes (1998) acknowledges the applause as she is introduced to the rest of the reception guests. Photos by Michael Stewart

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NEA National Heritage Fellows: From left to right and back to front; Martin Goicoechea, Chairman Dana Gioia (red tie), Tom Pich, Milan Opacich, Director Barry Bergey, John Cephas; Second Row, Paul Dahlin (beige jacket), Nicholas Toth, Diomedes Matos, Liz

NEA National Heritage Fellows: From left to right and back to front; Martin Goicoechea, Chairman Dana Gioia (red tie), Tom Pich, Milan Opacich, Director Barry Bergey, John Cephas; Second Row, Paul Dahlin (beige jacket), Nicholas Toth, Diomedes Matos, Liz Carroll, Peter Kyvelos; Third Row, Manoochehr Sadeghi, Qi Shu Fang, Vanessa Jennings, Chum Nyek, Konstantinos Pilarinos; Seated, Hazel Dickens, Nancy Sweezy, Philip Simmons, Sam-Oeun Tes. Photos by Michael Stewart