The National Endowment for the Arts’ National Heritage Fellow awards recognize folk and traditional artists for their artistic excellence and efforts to conserve America’s culture for future generations. The fellowships are the nation’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts, and include a one-time award of $25,000.
While typically awarded to the likes of musicians and artist, one of the 2012 honorees is Harold Burnham, the 11th generation in a line of boat designers and builders, creates his vessels using hand tools and incorporating locally harvested wood, just as members of his family did some 300 years ago.
However, while rooted in the past, Burnham's designs demonstrate his own blend of form and function.
Profiles of the artists are available in the Lifetime Honors section of the NEA website, along with photos, audio, and video samples of their work.