Juneau resident one of nine folk artists honored with national fellowships

    Clarissa Rizal of Juneau is one of nine artists given the nation's highest honor for folk and traditional arts.

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Clarissa Rizal of Juneau is one of nine artists given the nation's highest honor for folk and traditional arts.

    Rosita Kaaháni Worl, Ph.D. President, Sealaska Heritage Institute said, “Sealaska Heritage Institute is delighted to hear the news that the NEA awarded Clarissa Rizal a National Heritage fellowship. Rizal’s leadership and commitment in revitalizing ancient Chilkat and Ravenstail weaving practices---art forms that are integral to the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultures---has contributed to a renaissance and resurgence of artists, who are dedicated to perpetuating these art forms and techniques. The fact that Rizal’s work and accomplishments has been acknowledged by one of our highest cultural institutions is testament to Rizal’s dedication and hard work, and is a welcome opportunity to highlight the significance of these art forms in our cultural heritage.”

    The National Endowment for the Arts announced its 2016 National Heritage Fellows this week. They will be recognized at a concert Sunday at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall and again at an awards ceremony in September.

    The fellows each get a $25,000 cash prize.

    Performers at Sunday's concert will include past recipients of the NEA heritage fellowship.

    This year's recipients are: Clarissa Rizal of Juneau, Alaska; Brian Akipa of Sisseton, South Dakota; Joseph Pierre Boudreaux of New Orleans; Billy McComiskey of Baltimore; Artemio Posadas of San Jose, California;  Theresa Secord of Waterville, Maine; Bounzeung Synanonh of Fresno, California; Michael Vlahovich of Tacoma, Washington; and Leona Waddell of Cecilia, Kentucky.

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