Two members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians have been named recipients of South Arts’ Folk and Traditional Arts Master Artist Fellowships. Mary Ann Thompson and Betty Maney are two of 15 recipients, announced on Thursday, April 15, and will each receive a $12,000 award.
“The arts and culture rooted in Central Appalachia are vital to our regional and national identity,” Teresa Hollingsworth, South Arts program director, noted in a press release. “The artists we are supporting through this program represent the deep history and culture carried by families and communities across centuries of practice. From white oak basket making to herbalism and from storytelling to old-time fiddling, each fellow embodies the work of their ancestors and are proudly carrying these traditions into the future.”
Maney was honored for her work in Cherokee white oak and river cane baskets, Cherokee stamped pottery, and pre-Colombian twined clothing; and Thompson was honored for her Cherokee river cane double weave baskets and stamped pottery.
Information from South Arts states, “Each artist is a standard-bearer of traditional arts and culture, spending their lives in dedication to the preservation and perpetuation of art forms passed from generation to generation.”
Earlier in the year, Thompson was also named a 2021 Appalachian Craft and Culture Fellow by the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts. The fellowship includes a stipend and other monies to attend conferences, and Thompson will present a public lecture and have an exhibition of her work.
– One Feather staff report