Traditional Arts

Around the world,  there are programs which honor individuals who have made signature contributions to the cultural heritage of their countries. Each year,  The Great Lakes Folk Festival showcases artists who have been honored with a Michigan Heritage Award, or a Michigan Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Award. These programs are coordinated by the MSU Museum’s Michigan Traditional Arts Program (a partnership with the Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs) and are supported by grants from the MCACA and the National Endowment for the Arts.

GLFF also honors recipients of NEA’s National Heritage Heritage Fellowship Program.  This program was established in 1982 to recognize individuals “for their artistic excellence and their efforts to conserve America’s many cultures for future generations.” Every year the Great Lakes Folk Festival presents one or more recipients of the NEA National Heritage Fellow Award.

The Michigan Heritage Awards
The Michigan Heritage Awards, established in 1985, recognizes Michigan’s exceptional tradition bearers and supporters of traditional culture who have made significant contributions to our state’s heritage. Over 100 tradition bearers have been honored since the inception of the program.
Nominate someone and to learn about past awardees.


The Michigan Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program
The Michigan Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program assists master artists who in passing their skills and knowledge to others through one-on-one apprenticeships.
Learn about past recipients and apply.