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Masters of Traditional Arts: A Biographical Dictionary

ISBN-13: 978-0827383807
ISBN-10: 1576072401
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Between the World and Me
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up-This resource chronicles the lives and careers of the 259 recipients of the National Heritage Fellowship, awarded annually since 1982 by the National Endowment for the Arts to individual practitioners of folk and traditional arts. Arranged alphabetically by artist's name, the entries do not follow a standard format, other than including the subjects' birth (and, where applicable, death), and dates and fields of artistic endeavor, and are not comprehensive biographies. Instead, they present an informative, anecdotal overview of those aspects of the subjects' lives that directly influenced their professional development. Each one- to three-page entry, based primarily on interviews with the artist, is accompanied by at least one black-and-white photograph, usually a portrait. Further resources on each artist are listed in the "Selected Bibliography, Discography, Filmography" which precedes the general index. The general index has an inconsistent format: a search for blues music yields a list of musicians with the page numbers of their entries, but under Cajun music there are only page references and no musicians' names. It is disappointing that the articles, especially those on quilters and other textile artists, do not include color photographs of their work. However, in his introduction, the editor mentions related DVD-ROM and interactive Internet resources. This set will be especially useful in large public libraries, academic libraries, art schools, music conservatories, and secondary schools that specialize in the arts.
Ginny Gustin, Sonoma County Library System, Santa Rosa, CA
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

For this unique biographical dictionary, folklorist/filmmaker Govenar draws on 20 years of interviews with participants in the National Heritage Fellowship program, a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) program honoring American artists who practice the traditional or folk arts. Those represented include Afro-Cuban drummers, Ukrainian American egg decorators, Native American basket makers, African American tap dancers, Basque American accordionists, and Anglo American quilters. Arranged alphabetically by name, the entries each begin with a black-and-white photograph of the artist and list his or her ethnic identification. The essays, one to two pages of straightforward text, provide biographical information and details about the person's craft while also recognizing ethnic and cultural influences. The second volume concludes with an appendix about the Bess Lomax Hawes Award, the NEA's annual prize for excellence in the folk and traditional arts; as this was introduced in 2000, there are currently two entries. The book also features a resource list facilitating further research about the Heritage Fellows, a selected bibliography, discography, and filmography arranged by the artists' names, and an index that covers nationalities, ethnic groups, art forms, and personal names. Recommended for most public and academic libraries with an interest in the arts or ethnic and cultural studies. Cynthia A. Johnson, Barnard Coll. Lib., New York

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


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Product Details

More About the Author

Alan Govenar is a writer, folklorist, photographer, and filmmaker. He has a B.A. with distinction in American Folklore from Ohio State University, an M.A. in Folklore and Anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin, and a Ph.D. in Arts and Humanities from the University of Texas at Dallas. He is president of Documentary Arts, a non-profit organization he founded in 1985 to present new perspectives on historical issues and diverse cultures. Over the years, he has worked with Documentary Arts to organize festivals, arts-in-education programs and exhibitions; develop interactive media; and produce films, videos and radio series for national and international broadcast. Govenar has served on an Experts Panel on the safeguarding and inventory of intangible cultural heritage at UNESCO and has worked with FARO in Brussels to develop the touring exhibition Recognizing Our Cultural Heritage: An American and Flemish Dialogue.
Govenar is the author of more than twenty-five books, including Texas Blues: The Rise of a Contemporary Sound, Stompin' at the Savoy: The Story of Norma Miller, Extraordinary Ordinary People: Five American Masters of Traditional Arts, Untold Glory: African Americans in Pursuit of Freedom, Opportunity and Achievement, Stoney Knows How: Life as a Sideshow Tattoo Artist, Deep Ellum: The Other Side of Dallas, Portraits of Community, and The Early Years of Rhythm and Blues. His book Osceola: Memories of a Sharecropper's Daughter won First Place in the New York Book Festival (Children's Non-Fiction), a Boston Globe-Hornbook Honor; and an Orbis Pictus Honor from the National Council of Teachers of English. The off-Broadway premiere of Govenar's musical Blind Lemon Blues, co-created with Akin Babatunde received rave reviews in The New York Times and Variety.
For more than two decades, Govenar has directed Masters of Traditional Arts, an ongoing, multifaceted initiative focused on the recipients of the National Heritage Fellowship, awarded annually by the National Endowment for the Arts since 1982. In this capacity, Govenar has worked with institutions and cultural organizations across the United States and has compiled and edited a two-volume biographical dictionary, co-authored an education guide for teachers and students, developed interactive touchscreen kiosks for museums, schools and libraries, produced two 52-part radio series for national broadcast, and curated the touring exhibition Extraordinary Ordinary People: American Masters of Traditional Arts. 
Govenar has directed numerous documentary films for broadcast and educational distribution in the United States and abroad, including You Don't Need Feet to Dance, The Beat Hotel, Master Qi and the Monkey King, Poetry of Exactitude, The Devil's Swing, Texas Style, Everything But the Squeak, The Human Volcano, The Hard Ride, Dreams of Conquest, and Little Willie Eason and His Talking Gospel Guitar. His film Voyage of Doom was co-produced with La Sept/ARTE for broadcast in 20 French and German countries and with NOVA for primetime broadcast in North America.


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