Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Maine Basketmaker Molly Neptune Parker Honored as National Heritage Fellow

Re-posted from nea site 

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.

Recipients of nation’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts will perform in Washington, DC October 4, 2012 .

Molly Neptune Parker is a recipient of Maine Art's Commission Fellowship Award for Traditional Arts, New England Foundation for the Arts Native Arts Award, and First People's Fund's Community Spirit Award. More information about Molly Neptune Parker can be found on the NEA biography pages 

More information about the National Heritage Fellowship is online on the NEA site or you can contact
Liz Auclair at the NEA. 202-682-5744, auclaire@arts.gov

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