Since 1989, the North Carolina Heritage Award* has honored our state’s most eminent artists. Recipients of the Heritage Awards range from internationally acclaimed musicians to folks who quietly practice their art in rural and family settings. A dozen North Carolinians have gone on to receive the National Heritage Fellowship Awards presented by the National Endowment for the Arts. These awards deepen our awareness of the rich and diverse cultural traditions of people in North Carolina. The Heritage Award has become one of the most important and influential programs developed by the Folklife Program of the North Carolina Arts Council.
Recipients receive a cash award and are honored in a ceremony that highlights their achievements. The Award ceremonies are a notable celebration and educational event for North Carolinians, drawing large and enthusiastic audiences.
From the Award’s beginning, the Folklife Program of the North Carolina Arts Council engaged talented photographers — Rob Amberg, Cedric N. Chatterley, Mary Anne McDonald, Roger Haile and Bill Bamberger — to document the artistry of award recipients. Their images and the program book articles celebrate and commemorate the skills, values, aesthetics, and meaning of traditional arts in North Carolina.
The Heritage Award recipients from 1989-1996 are also featured in a special issue of the North Carolina Folklore Journal.
Click here to view Heritage Award Recipients in our database
*Known formerly as the North Carolina Folk Heritage Award