Folk Masters

Folk Masters

A Portrait of America
Photographs by Tom Pich, text by Barry Bergey
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 11/21/2017
Format: Hardback 109 color illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-03232-4
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Discover one hundred of the greatest folk artists practicing in the United States in Folk Masters: A Portrait of America. Over the past 25 years, photographer Tom Pich has traveled the country to the homes and studios of recipients of the National Endowment for the Arts’ National Heritage Fellowship, the highest honor given to folk and traditional artists in the US. His portraits give us a glimpse into their art, their process, and their culture. While each image tells a story on its own, Barry Bergey, former Director of Folk and Traditional Arts at the National Endowment for the Arts, provides further insight into the lives of each featured artist as well as the remarkable stories behind each photograph. Folk Masters honors again the extraordinary women and men who simultaneously take the traditional arts to new heights while ensuring their continuation from generation to generation.

Author Bio

Tom Pich is a professional photographer who has traveled across America for the past 25 years photographing the extraordinary recipients of the National Heritage Fellowships. His portraits have been exhibited at Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the National Museum of the American Indian, the Smithsonian Institution, the Russell Office Building of the US Senate, and the Library of Congress.

Barry Bergey was Director of Folk and Traditional Arts at the National Endowment for the Arts, recently retiring after a career of nearly 30 years at the agency. His involvement in international arts policy includes consultation with UNESCO, the Organization of American States, the World Bank, the US Information Agency, and the Department of State.


“This beautiful, informative, and exquisitely produced book features 100 extraordinary traditional artists from across America, each a recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship—the nation’s highest award for excellence in the folk and traditional arts. Folk Masters is a stunning tribute to the great diversity of cultures and artistic traditions that enrich our country.”
 — Marjorie Hunt, Folklife Curator, Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage

“"Folk Masters documents and honors the extraordinary women and men who take traditional arts to new heights while also ensuring their continuation from generation to generation."”
 — The Library of Congress

"Folk Masters is visual, emotional, and inspirational. Here is a portrait of America many Americans never see and may not believe actually exists. Pich and Bergey have done an admirable job of conveying their vision."”
 — Journal of Folklore Research

“"These two folk art enthusiasts set out to document the richness of America’s cultural landscape not just to preserve that legacy, but also to inspire future generations."”
 — Whurk

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Table of Contents



Hugh McGraw (1982)

Philip Simmons (1982)

Ray Hicks (1983)

Mary Jane Manigault (1984)

Ralph Stanley (1984)

Eppie Archuleta (1985)

Julio Negrón Rivera (1985)

Periklis Halkias (1985)

Alphonse "Bois Sec" Ardoin (1986)

Helen Cordero (1986)

John Jackson (1986)

Sonia Domsch (1986)

Juan Alindato (1987)

Genoveva Castellanos (1987)

Kansuma Fujima (1987)

Newton Washburn (1987)

Wade Mainer (1987)

Clyde "Kindy" Sproat (1988)

Chesley "Goseyun" Wilson (1989)

Harry V. Shourds (1989)

Vanessa Paukeigope [Morgan] Jennings (1989)

Natividad "Nati" Cano (1990)

Wallace "Wally" McRae (1990)

Etta Baker (1991)

George Blake (1991)

Irván Perez (1991)

Jerry Brown (1992)

Charles Hankins (1993)

D.L. Menard (1994)

Simon Shaheen (1994)

Sosei Shizuye Matsumoto (1994)

Blind Boys of Alabama (1994)

Danongan Kalanduyan (1995)

Nathan Jackson (1995)

Betty Pisio Christenson (1996)

Obo Addy (1996)

Vernon Owens (1996)

Ramón José López (1997)

Julius Epstein, of the Epstein Brothers (1998)

Alfredo Campos (1999)

Elliott "Ellie" Mannette (1999)

Frisner Augustin (1999)

Jimmy "Slyde" Godbolt (1999)

Mick Moloney (1999)

Ulysses "Uly" Goode (1999)

Felipe García Villamil (2000)

Joe Willie "Pinetop" Perkins (2000)

Konstantinos Pilarinos (2000)

Evalena Henry (2001)

João Oliveira Dos Santos (João Grande) (2001)

Peter Kyvelos (2001)

Qi Shu Fang (2001)

Seiichi Tanaka (2001)

Flory Jagoda (2002)

Jean Ritchie (2002)

Losang Samten (2002)

Nadim Dlaikan (2002)

Monoochehr Sadeghi (2003)

Nicholas Toth (2003)

Norman Kennedy (2003)

Basque Poets (Bertsolari) Martin Goicoechea and Jesus Goni (2003)

Jerry Douglas (2004)

Milan Opacich (2004)

Yiqin Wang and Zhengli Xu (2004)

Chuck Brown (2005)

Eldrid Skjold Arntzen (2005)

Herminia Albarrán Romero (2005)

Delores E. Churchill (2006)

Henry Gray (2006)

Irvin L. Trujillo (2007)

Joe Thompson (2007)

Julia Parker (2007)

Nicholas Benson (2007)

Bettye Kimbrell (2008)

Horace P. Axtell (2008)

Jeronimo E. Lozano (2008)

Mac Wiseman (2008)

Michael G. White (2008)

Moges Seyoum (2008)

Sue Yeon Park (2008)

Walter Murray Chiesa (2008)

Chitresh Das (2009)

Joel Nelson (2009)

Teri Rofkar (2009)

Jim "Texas Shorty" Chancellor (2010)

Mary Jackson (2010)

Frank Newsome (2011)

Warner Williams (2011)

Harold A. Burnham (2012)

Leonardo "Flaco" Jiménez (2012)

Molly Neptune Parker (2012)

Nicolae Feraru (2013)

Ramón "Chunky" Sánchez (2013)

Verónica Castillo (2013)

Henry Arquette (2014)

Dolly Jacobs (2015)

Yary Livan (2015)

Quilters of Gee’s Bend Loretta Pettway, Lucy Mingo, and Mary Lee Bendolf (2015)

Billy McComiskey (2016)

Clarissa Rizal (2016)


Complete List of NEA National Heritage Fellowship Awardees, 1982-2016

Sources for Artist Quotes

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