2018 North Carolina Heritage Award

Guidelines for Submitting a Nomination

The North Carolina Heritage Award

…honors active traditional artists

…recognizes artistic excellence in traditional art

…celebrates contributions to communities

…promotes North Carolina’s cultural heritage


Nomination deadline: May 1, 2017

About the North Carolina Heritage Award

The North Carolina Heritage Award has honored over 130 artists since 1989. Many North Carolina Heritage Award recipients have also gained national and international attention. Arthel “Doc” Watson, Earl Scruggs, Etta Baker, Ray Hicks and twelve others have received National Heritage Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. 

Recipients of the 2018 award will receive a cash award (or a portion thereof in the case of a group award) and special recognition in an awards ceremony held in Raleigh.

A key event in 2018 is the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the North Carolina Arts Council. The awards ceremony will feature awardees alongside younger generatin artists continuing their tradition.

What is traditional art?

The traditional arts emerge from community life and pass from generation to generation, reflecting shared meanings and embodying community standards of excellence. Heritage Award recipients include masters of such traditions as string band, gospel, balladry and blues music; master storytellers; and experts in craft traditions that include pottery, basketry, blacksmithing, weaving, boatbuilding and carving, among others.How award recipients are chosen

Nominations will be reviewed by a selection panel that forwards its recommendations to the Secretary of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources for confirmation. 

Selection Criteria:

  • Authenticity
  • Current and past record of excellence
  • Significance of nominees within the context of their particular cultural tradition
  • Current availability
  • For 2018: the role of the artist as a mentor for the next generations
  • Identification of individuals carrying nominee’s traditions through direct transmission (teaching, demonstration, modelling)

Nomination deadline: May 1, 2017!

Making a Nomination

Anyone can nominate a traditional artist — or group of artists — for a North Carolina Heritage Award.

  • Discuss nomination plans with N.C. Arts Council Folklife Director Sally Peterson at (919) 807-6507 or sally.peterson@ncdcr.gov
  • Complete the nomination form (click on the link below)
  • Provide a narrative description of the traditional artist you wish to nominate
  • Provide a narrative description of the artist’s mentoring or teaching experience and identify students
  • Provide support materials

Guidelines for Making a Nomination

Nomination form (Click on this link for the nomination form)

  • Fill in the blanks as instructed. For nominee, please provide the full name of the artist you wish to nominate.
  • Provide all available contact information for the nominee and for you.
  •  Leave the status code and the institution code at 01.
  • Choose a category from the discipline code that best describes the nominee.
  • Choose a category from the racial or ethnic list that best describes the nominee.
  • For nominator, please fill in YOUR name and contact information.
  • Digital assistance checkbox: Please check this box if you are able to assist your nominee with digital forms (contracts, W-9s, brief reports) if they are selected as award recipients.
  • Sign and date the form.
  • Artist Narrative: Please attach a separate file of no more than three pages describing the nominee.
    • Describe the artist’s contributions to his or her particular artistic tradition and explain why this individual or group deserves statewide recognition.
    • Describe the artist’s impact within his or her community.
    • Explain the importance of this artistic tradition to the artist’s community.
    • Include a short biography and, if appropriate, a list of appearances at special events, exhibitions, or other noteworthy forms of recognition. Use additional pages for the list if necessary. 

Teaching and Mentoring Narrative: Please attach a separate file of no more than 1 to 2 pages describing the artist’s role as a teacher and mentor to younger generations. Provide the names and contact information of students who would be able to perform or demonstrate with the nominated artist.

Student Narrative: Please attach a statement by a student of the artist that explains their relationship and describes the value that the student has received from the mentor. This can take the form of a letter of support, or can be part of the nomination narrative.

Samples of Artist’s Work

On a separate page, describe the work samples accompanying this application. Please submit one or more of the following, clearly labeled with artist’s name and date of recording (check with the Folklife Program to ensure that your digital formats are acceptable):

Submit no more than ten labeled digital images. Jpegs and accompanying labels may be submitted by email to sally.peterson@ncdcr.gov. Please include at least one image of the student or mentee described in the application.

Audio Recordings
Submit standard digital audio files on a compact disc or DVD. Small files can be sent through email, or use Dropbox.

Submit video in a digital format on a DVD or provide links to You Tube, Vimeo, or other internet source. Whenever possible, video is best sent on a CD or YouTube link. DVDs cannot be transferred onto a computer to be made available to the panelists, and may need to be copied and mailed in order to be viewed.

Submit copies of articles, catalogs, program books, and other publications that include substantive information on the artist’s life and work. These may also be scanned and submitted on a compact disc or through email.

Support material cannot be returned except in the most special circumstances. Please do not submit the only copy of materials such as sound recordings, photographs, or slides.

Letters of Support

  • Nominators should submit no more than ten letters of support from individuals knowledgeable about the nominee’s particular artistic tradition and/or the artist’s contributions to the community through this tradition.
  • In 2018, letters from students of the nominee are mandatory.

Letters may accompany the nomination or be sent separately to the address below or emailed to sally.peterson@ncdcr.gov

Submitting a Nomination

Please fill out the nomination formattach your sample materials and click 'Submit'. You may also submit your sample materials by email or by post. If you mail your nomination materials, please specify the name of the nominee. Please use paperclips to organize material; no staples, notebooks, or plastic sleeves that may interfere with the duplication process. Reduce support materials to 8”x11”. Nominations that are not selected will be kept on file at the Folklife Program and will be reconsidered for the next award cycle.

Please email sample materials to



Please mail sample materials to  

Sally Peterson
N.C. Arts Council  
Department of Cultural Resources
Mail Service Center 4632
Raleigh, NC 27699-4632

For More Information

Call Sally Peterson at (919) 807-6507 or email inquiries can be sent to sally.peterson@ncdcr.gov.

Nomination Deadline

Nominations must be received at the N.C. Arts Council office by 5 p.m. on May 1, 2017.

Nomination Checklist

  • Nomination form
  • Narrative description of nominee and art form
  • Narrative description of nominee and teaching and mentoring
  • Work Samples
  • Support letters

Nomination form