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National Heritage Fellowships Program

Only a year ago, the Folk Arts Program at the National Endowment for the Arts joined with the Smithsonian Institution's Office of Folklife Programs to present fifteen outstanding American artists with the very first National Heritage Fellowships in the nation's history. These fellowships were signaled by a certificate of honor hailing each of the fifteen as "a Master Traditional Artist who has contributed to the shaping of our artistic traditions and to preserving the cultural diversity of the United States."

The event represented this nation's especial adaptation of the seminal Japanese concept of "living cultural treasures." In inaugurating

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