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Mendhi hands by Pushpa Jain. Photographer unknown. All rights reserved.Fish decoy. Photo by Pearl Yee Wong. All rights reserved.Embroidered dress detail. Photo by Pearl Yee Wong. All rights reserved.Cedar bird by Glen VanAntwerp. Photo by Al Kamuda. All rights reserved.
Michigan Heritage Awards


The Michigan Heritage Awards honor individuals who continue their family and community folk traditions with excellence and authenticity. The program was established in 1985 to call attention to Michigan's exceptional tradition bearers and supporters of traditional culture whose contributions to our state's heritage had not been recognized previously. Awards are annually presented in three categories: material culture, performance, and community leadership.
  • Material culture includes traditions that can be touched.
  • Performance includes traditions of music, song, dance, foodways, and storytelling.
  • A community leader should be someone who promotes, supports, and helps to maintain a community's folk traditions. These individuals need not be artists themselves but in a few instances they have been.
MHA 2011 winners
2011 Michigan Heritage Award recipients (from left to right)
Deb Caryl, Calvin Cooke, and Gaylord Klancnik's wife Anne
at the ceremony in East Lansing, August 14, 2011.
Photo by Patrick Power.

[Click here for list of all awardees]

How can I nominate someone?

Nominations are usually submitted by someone who knows the nominee well; family members, friends, community members, and even students of honorees have submitted nominations.

Nominations must include a completed nomination form, at least two letters of support from community members, and a description of the tradition bearer's skill and personal biography. Depending on the type of tradition, the nomination package must also include photographs or samples of their work and/or audio tapes of performances.

Nominations and supporting materials must be hand-delivered or postmarked by December 1 each year.

[click here for a MHA Nomination Form A: Arts (Performance and Material Culture)]
[click here for a MHA Nomination Form A: Arts (Performance and Material Culture) word version]
[click here for a MHA Nomination Form B: Community Leadership]
[click here for a MHA Nomination Form B: Community Leadership word version]

Who selects the awardees and what do they look for?

A panel of invited specialists reviews the applications in early January. They look for strong evidence of community or family support, excellence of contribution or artistry, mastery of art form, a description of the tradition, and an explanation of the meaning and value of the tradition to the particular family or community.

Click here to view the list of Review Panelists

When are the awards given?

Announcements of the awardees are made in February. Awards are conferred at a special ceremony at the Great Lakes Folk Festival in August and recipients are also recognized in the program for the annual Governor's Arts Award ceremony in November.

For more information about the Michigan Heritage Award Program. Contact by phone (517-353-5526 or 517-355-2370), or write:
    Michigan Traditional Arts Program
    Michigan State University Museum
    Michigan State University
    East Lansing, Michigan  48824-1045

Click here to order a copy of Honoring Traditions: Michigan Heritage Awards, 1985-2004, an MSU Museum publication by Yvonne R. Lockwood and Marsha MacDowell. Price: $10.00 plus shipping and handling.


The Michigan Heritage Awards Program is administered by the Michigan State University Museum's Michigan Traditional Arts Program with support from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.


Review Panelists List
Bosse, Joanna, 2014
Brassieur, Ray, 1992, 1991, 1990
Cadaval, Olivia, 1992
Cardona, Ana, 2003
Chiarappa, Michael, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999
Church, William, 1989, 1988
Cicala, Alan, 1989, 1988
Crampton, Anna, 1994, 1993, 1992
Delgado, Vincent, 2013, 2014
Everts, Dana, 1995, 1994, 1993
Galvan, Deborah, 2002, 2001, 2000
Gibson, Gloria, 1988
Gilmore, Janet, 1992
Johnson, William, 2011, 2010, 2009
Julian, Sue, 1989
Kalumbu, Isaac, 2003, 2002, 2001
Keyes, Cheryl, 1993
Kienitz, Betty, 1992
Kozma, LuAnne, 1985
Langlois, Janet, 1988
Largey, Michael, 1997, 1996, 1995
Livengood, Mark, 2004
Lloyd, Tim, 1994, 1993, 1992
Long, Lucy, 2010, 2009, 1991, 1990, 1989
March, Richard, 1990, 1989, 1988
Martin, Shannon, 2008, 2007, 2006
May-Machunda, Phyllis, 1992, 1991, 1990, 1989
Melendez, Theresa, 2006, 2005, 2004
Nusbaum, Phil, 1992, 1991
Olson, Ruth, 2003, 2002
Plamondon, Larry, 2005, 2004, 2003
Pollard, Deborah Smith, 1999, 1998, 1997
Rhoades, Loretta, 1993
Robinson, Yvette, 2013, 2014
Roraback, Eileen, 2011, 2010
Roth, Erin, 2003
Scales, Christopher, 2011, 2012, 2013
Shen, Sin Yan, 1993
Singer, Elliott, 1985
Skillman, Amy, 1998, 1997, 1996
Sommers, Laurie K., 2006, 2000, 1999, 1998
Stephens, Ronald, 2002, 2001, 2000
Stillman, Amy, 2008
Syndergaard, Larry, 2007, 2006, 2005
Teske, Bob, 1995, 1994, 1993
VanDeCar, Kathy, 1997, 1996, 1995
Wabanimkee, Minnie, 1999, 1998
White, Marilyn, 1996, 1995, 1994
Wilcox, Candy Wesaw, 1991, 1990
Williams, Steve, 2009, 2008, 2007
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