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Awards to USA Artists and Artist Groups to Recognize Exceptional Contributions to Folk Art

National Heritage Fellowships


GrantWatch ID#

Funding Source
National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)
Array ( [0] => American Samoa (USA); [1] => Guam (USA); [2] => Puerto Rico (USA); [3] => Virgin Islands (USA); [4] => Northern Mariana Islands (USA); )

Geographic Focus
USA Territories: American Samoa (USA);   Guam (USA);   Puerto Rico (USA);   Virgin Islands (USA);   Northern Mariana Islands (USA);

Important Dates
Deadline: 05/30/23 11:59 PM ET Save

Grant Description
Awards of up to $25,000 to USA and territories artists and artist groups to recognize exceptional contributions in the area of folk arts. Eligible artistic genres include, but are not limited to crafts, dance, music, and oral expression. Special consideration will be given to nominated artists residing in Arkansas, Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Guam, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, Nevada, North Carolina, Northern Marianas, Utah, and Vermont.

To honor and preserve the nation's diverse cultural heritage, the NEA annually awards up to nine National Heritage Fellowships to master folk and traditional artists, including one Bess Lomax Hawes Fellowship. These fellowships recognize artistic excellence, lifetime achievement, and contributions to our nation's traditional arts heritage. Through folk and traditional arts practice, National Heritage Fellows reveal that artful lives are enhanced by active community involvement and contribute to the well-being of individuals and communities.

The designation of a Bess Lomax Hawes National Heritage Fellowship will be awarded 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; or
  • An individual such as a producer or advocate whose efforts have significantly increased opportunities for and public visibility of traditional arts and artists.


Additional Eligibility Criteria
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 or ensemble, but not an incorporated organization). Nominees must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States and may receive the Fellowship once in a lifetime.

National Heritage Fellowship 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, mentors, or as community scholars.

For FY2024, nominations for artists residing in the following states or jurisdictions will receive special consideration in the panel review: Arkansas, Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Guam, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, Nevada, North Carolina, Northern Marianas, Utah, and Vermont.

Self-nominations are not accepted and no one may nominate an eligible group in which they are an active member.

Individuals who have previously received any other lifetime honor award from the NEA (National Heritage Fellowship, Jazz Masters Fellowship, or an Opera Honor) are not eligible. Nominations of deceased individuals will not be considered. No payment will be made to the estate or heirs of a deceased recipient.

Pre-Application Information
- Step One: Complete and submit the nomination form by May 30, 2023 by 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time.
- Step Two: Submit nomination work samples and support letters to Applicant Portal, from June 2, 2023 at 9:00 a.m., Eastern Time to June 8, 2023 by 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time. (Login credentials to the Applicant Portal will be emailed to you on the morning of June 2, 2023.)
- Announcement of Fellowship Award: Summer of 2024

A nomination will be considered incomplete and will not be reviewed without work samples submitted through the Applicant Portal unless the nomination is specifically for a Bess Lomax Hawes Fellowship. At the top of the Nomination Statement, please indicate if the nominee is to be considered specifically for the Bess Lomax Hawes Fellowship.

Nominations remain active for a total of four years unless a nominee is selected for a National Heritage Fellowship, a Bess Lomax Hawes Fellowship, or passes away.

One or more nominations may be submitted in a year (using a separate online form for each submission). Nominations may also be submitted by an individual or group.

Number of Grants
Up to 9

Estimated Size of Grant
Awards for the National Heritage Fellowships (including the Bess Lomax Hawes Fellowship) will be up to $25,000.

Contact Information
Nomination Form:

New or updated information that significantly affects your nomination may be submitted June 21 - 24, 2023. Contact Cheryl Schiele at

National Endowment for the Arts
400 7th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20506

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