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The National Endowment for the Arts’ National Heritage Fellowship is the highest honor that our nation bestows upon its folk and traditional artists. Each year, ten to thirteen individuals, “national living treasures” from across the nation, are chosen to
receive this one-time-only Fellowship in recognition of lifetime achievement, artistic excellence and contributions to our nation’s
cultural heritage.

This years’ recipients include two related to films on

Nick Benson, son of John “Fud” Benson, the stone carver featured in “Final Marks.” Nick Benson continues the stone carving tradition of his father and grandfather at the John Stevens Shop in Newport, R.I., founded in 1705 and in continuous operation since that date.

Another artist getting the award this year is African American string band musician Joe Thompson of Mebane, N.C. He appears in Alan Lomax’s “Appalachian Journey,”

Other artists given this award in previous years also appear in films
on Folkstreams, including the following:

Alphonse “Bois Sec” Ardoin (1986) in Cajun Country and Dry Wood
Dewey Balfa (1982) in Cajun Country, Cajun Visits, Homemade American
Music, and Les Blues de Balfa
Sister Mildred Barker (1983) in The Shakers
Jerry Brown (1992) in Unbroken Tradition
Joseph Cormier (1984) in New England Fiddles
Elizabeth Cotten (1985) in Homemade American Music
Michael Doucet (2005), in Cajun Country
Conray Fontenot (1986) in Cajun Country, Cajun Visits, and Dry Wood
Ray Hicks (1983) in Appalachian Journey
Stanley Hicks (1983) in Appalachian Journey and Talking Feet
John Dee Holeman (1988) in Appalachian Journey and Talking Feet
Tommy Jarrell (1982) in Appalachian Journey, Dreams and Songs of the
Noble Old, and Homemade American Music
Riley “B.B.” King (1991 ) in Give My Poor Heart Ease
Lily May Ledford (1985) in Homemade American Music
Alex Moore (1987) in Black on White, White and Black
Jack Owens (1993), in Dreams and Songs of the Noble Old and The Land
Where the Blues Began
Irvan Perez (1991) in Mosquitoes and High Water
Adam Popovich (1982) in The Popovich Brothers
Almeda Riddle (1983) in Almeda Riddle: Now Let’s Talk about Singing
Saunders “Sonny” Terry (1982) in Sonny Terry: Shoutin’ the Blues and
Sonny Terry: Whoopin’ the Blues
Nikitas Tsimouris (1991) in Every Island Has Its Own Song
Othar Turner (1992) in Gravel Springs Fife and Drum, Made in
Mississippi, and The Land Where the Blues Began
Cleofes Vigil (1984) in The Grand Generation
Nimrod Workman (1986) in The Grand Generation is a national preserve of documentary films about American roots cultures streamed with essays about the traditions and filmmaking. The site includes transcriptions, study and teaching guides, suggested readings, and links to related websites.

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