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Two Regional Artists Are Honored as National Heritage Fellows

By Elizabeth Snell

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Two artists from our region—Rosie Flores (Texas) and Pat Johnson (Arkansas)—join illustrious company as part of the National Endowment for the Arts’ 2024 National Heritage Fellows. 


The National Heritage Fellowships are the nation’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts. Each of this year’s 10 fellows receives $25,000 award and will be honored in Washington, DC, in fall 2024. The NEA has presented this lifetime honor every year since 1982 in recognition of individuals whose dedication and artistry contribute to preservation and growth of diverse cultural traditions. 

Fellowship recipients are nominated by the public, often by members of their own communities, and then judged by a panel of experts in the folk and traditional arts. The panel’s recommendations are reviewed by the National Council on the Arts, which sends its recommendations to the NEA chair, who makes the final decision.

And now, let us introduce you to this year’s honorees from M-AAA’s region. 

Rosie Flores —Rockabilly and Country Musician from Austin, Texas
Rosie Flores has been songwriting, singing, and playing guitar for more than four decades, preserving and extending the musical legacies of Texan musicians that came before her. Her groundbreaking talent helped lay the foundation for what has grown into the alt country movement.

Pat Johnson —Community Activist and Organizer from Pocahontas, Arkansas
When Pat Johnson retired from a life of public service, she began working full-time as a community activist and creating a place for her community to gather, connect, and honor local African American history, traditions, and culture.

Johnson is the 2024 recipient of the Bess Lomax Hawes National Heritage Fellowship, presented in recognition of an individual who has made a significant contribution to the preservation and awareness of cultural heritage.

Read the full announcement here to learn more about all 10 National Heritage Fellows.

Nominations are open for the next fellows! The deadline to submit a nomination for the 2025 class of NEA National Heritage Fellows is Tuesday, May 28, 2024. Visit the National Endowment for the Arts website for more information and to submit a nomination.

About the National Endowment for the Arts
Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the Arts Endowment supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. To learn more, visit arts.gov or follow us on X, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.