• NEA Celebrates Folk and Traditional Arts at Free Concert

    2015 NEA National Heritage Fellows also to be honored at awards ceremony

    August 25, 2015

    Washington, DC—With art forms ranging from blues music to Japanese classical dancing to Cambodian ceramics, the 2015 NEA National Heritage Fellows are recipients of our nation’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts and represent the diversity and richness of our nation’s cultural heritage. At two events in Washington, DC, October 1-2, 2015 – a free concert and an awards ceremony– the National Endowment for the Arts will celebrate these artists and provide opportunities for the public to learn more about them and their traditions. Both events are open to the public and managed by the National Council for the Traditional Arts.

    Members of the media who wish to attend the concert, awards ceremony, or request photographs or video from either event should contact Liz Auclair at auclaire@arts.gov.

    NEA National Heritage Fellowships Concert

    The 2015 NEA National Heritage Fellowships Concert will take place Friday, October 2, 2015 at 8 p.m. ET at George Washington University's Lisner Auditorium. Marco Werman, host of Public Radio International and BBC’s The World, will emcee this event, which will feature performances and craft demonstrations by the 2015 Heritage Fellows, including master oud player Rahim AlHaj; musician Michael Alpert with Jewish music ensemble Brave Old World; an aerial performance by circus artist Dolly Jacobs; demonstrations by renowned quilters from Gee’s Bend, Alabama; as well as blues music, Japanese classical dancing, Cambodian ceramic arts, and Slovak straw weaving and egg decorating.

    Attend in person:

    The NEA National Heritage Fellowships Concert will be held at George Washington University's Lisner Auditorium at 730 21st Street NW in Washington, DC, on Friday, October 2, 2015 at 8 p.m. ET. Free tickets to this concert are available online at Lisner.gwu.edu or in person at George Washington University's Lisner Auditorium Box Office at 730 21st Street NW in Washington, DC, and the House of Musical Traditions at 7010 Westmoreland Avenue in Takoma Park, Maryland. PLEASE NOTE: Ticket-holders should arrive by 7:45 p.m. At that time, all empty seats will be released to those in the stand-by line.

    Watch the live webcast:

    The NEA National Heritage Fellowships Concert will be live streamed at arts.gov with an archive available following the event. Viewers can share comments and photos on Twitter using the hashtag #NEAHeritage15. You may also request copies of the concert program by emailing heritage@arts.gov.

    In addition, the 2015 National Heritage Fellows will be spotlighted in an episode of public radio's American Routes the week of Thanksgiving. The episode will feature performances from the concert and interviews with the artists as well as music and conversations with previous recipients of National Heritage Fellowships. For more information, go to americanroutes.org in November 2015.

    NEA National Heritage Fellowships Awards Ceremony

    The NEA also will honor the 2015 Heritage Fellows at an awards ceremony on Thursday, October 1, 2015 at 5:30 p.m. ET in the Library of Congress's Coolidge Auditorium in the Thomas Jefferson Building at 10 First Street SE in Washington, DC. NEA Chairman Jane Chu and Members of Congress will present the awards to the recipients, who will give short remarks. Following the ceremony, there will be a reception with the artists. This event is open to the public and no tickets are required.

    The 2015 NEA National Heritage Fellows are:

    *Daniel Sheehy is the recipient of the Bess Lomax Hawes NEA National Heritage Fellowship Award. The Bess Lomax Hawes Award recognizes an individual who has made a significant contribution to the preservation and awareness of cultural heritage.

    Profiles of the artists are available in the Lifetime Honors section of the NEA’s website, along with photos and audio and video samples of their work.

    About the National Endowment for the Arts

    Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA 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 NEA 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.

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  • Plunky Branch

    August 24, 2015
    Contact: J. Plunky Branch
    E-MAIL plunkyb@aol.com

    Plunky/Never Too Late: The Documentary PBS Television Premiere September 3, 2015

    “Never Too Late” is the title of the latest CD album by saxophonist J. Plunky Branch and his critically acclaimed funk jazz group, Plunky & Oneness.  But it is also the title of the documentary film about Plunky’s 40th anniversary of performing and producing music in Richmond, VA.  The documentary will have its television premiere Thursday, September 3, 2015 at 9:00 PM on WCVE (PBS)-TV, Virginia’s Idea Station and it will air again on WCVW Richmond PBS on Tuesday, September 8 at 10:00 PM.

    Produced in conjunction with the Virginia State University (VSU) Department of Mass Communication, Plunky: Never Too Late – The Documentary is narrated by Plunky himself as he speaks of his history, philosophy and his music while preparing for his anniversary celebration concert.  The viewer travels with Plunky as he prepares for the upcoming big show, rehearsing with his band and doing interviews about his career.  The cameras are backstage and even in the dressing room before the artists take the stage.  Local musicians and celebrities who have worked with Plunky over the years are featured in the concert and in the film and there are interviews with audience members on the red carpet on the night of the gala event.

    The film was directed and edited by VSU grad student Brandon Davis who worked with a team of mass communication students, professional producers and Plunky’s band to create a first rate documentary worthy of being shown in film festivals, libraries and classrooms.  The project was conceived by Plunky as a vehicle to archive his journey and the momentous occasion of his 40th year celebration.  Dr. Ishmail Conway, Chairman of the Mass Communication Department, endorsed the project as a vehicle to have his students involved with a community icon and to work on a meaningful production while gaining invaluable experience.  He said, “This is the kind of work that we do in the department, educating our students and at the same time producing real works that can impact the community.”

    Film Trailer:

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