Lisner Hosts 50th Anniversary of National Endowment for the Arts Heritage Fellowships Concert

Performances and works by the 2016 fellowship winners put the diverse cultures of the United States on display.

NEA fellows
2016 NEA National Heritage Fellows, from left to right: Bryan Akipa, Billy McComiskey, Artemio Posadas, Clarissa Rizal, Theresa Secord, Bounxeung Synanonh, Michael Vlahovich, Leona Waddell, and Joseph Pierre “Big Chief Monk” Boudreaux. (Photo by Tom Pich)
October 03, 2016

The nine recipients of 2016 National Heritage Fellowships were honored Friday night at George Washington University's Lisner Auditorium for their mastery and preservation of centuries-old arts and cultural traditions.

The fellowship is the highest honor bestowed upon folk and traditional artists for a lifetime dedicated to perfecting singular skills and passing them on to next generations.

The evening got off to a rousing start with “Rambling Irish Man” performed by 2016 fellow Billy McComisky, a button accordionist who was joined by recipients from previous years. Dan Sheehy, a 2015 fellow, served as emcee.

The other recipients highlighted the intense effort that goes into the creation of their artistry. This year’s honorees were a Dakota mallard flute maker and player, a Kentucky basket maker, a Croatian-American ship builder and restorer, a Penobscot basket weaver, a Laotian reed mouth organ instrumentalist, an Alaskan blanket weaver and a Mardi Gras musician.

The 2016 National Heritage Fellows:

2016 NEA National Heritage Fellow White Oak Basketmaker Leona Waddell (center). Also pictured are her apprentice Sam Peters (left) and concert emcee Dan Sheehy (right). (Photo by Tom Pich)


2016 NEA National Heritage Fellow and Master Shipwright Michael Vlahovich (second from right) with his apprentices and concert emcee Dan Sheehy (right). (Photo by Tom Pich)


2016 NEA National Heritage Fellow and Laotian Khaen Player Bounxeung Synanonh performs. Also pictured are his translator Sonny Somchitvongsa (left) and concert emcee Dan Sheehy (right). (Photo by Tom Pich)


2016 NEA National Heritage Fellow and Penobscot Nation Ash/Sweetgrass Basketmaker (center) with apprentice Shannon Secord and concert emcee Dan Sheehy (right). (Photo by Tom Pich)


2016 NEA National Heritage Fellow and Tlingit ceremonial regalia maker Clarissa Rizal. (Photo by Tom Pich)


2016 NEA National Heritage Fellow and Master Huastecan Son Musician and Advocate Artemio Posadas (second from left) performs with Mary Ann Zahorsky, Russell C. Rodriguez, and Delores Garcia. (Photo by Tom Pich)


2016 NEA National Heritage Fellow and Irish Button Accordionist Billy McComiskey (right) performs with previous NEA National Heritage Fellows Mick Moloney and Liz Carroll. (Photo by Tom Pich)


2016 NEA National Heritage Fellow and Mardi Gras Indian Craftsman and Musician Joseph Pierre “Big Chief Monk” Boudreaux performs with the Golden Eagles. (Photo by Tom Pich)


2016 NEA National Heritage Fellow and Dakota Flute Maker and Player Bryan Akipa performs. Also pictured is concert emcee Dan Sheehy. (Photo by Tom Pich)


 

Arts & Culture