State arts council seeks heritage award nominations

In 2007, the Maryland State Arts Council’s folklife program, Maryland Traditions, created the state Heritage Awards to recognize outstanding stewardship of Maryland’s living traditions. Each year, three awards are made in the categories of person/people, place, and tradition. Nominations can be submitted via the Heritage Awards form online. Nominations are due July 30. Nominations from the public are invited.

Past recipients include The Baltimore American Indian Center, The Sheep and Wool Festival, the Ladies Aid Society of Smith Island, and Cambodian ceremonial music master Chum Ngek. Awards will be presented at a public ceremony Saturday, December 1, 2018, at the Proscenium Theatre at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

“The Heritage Awards are our way of supporting Maryland folklife in a broad way – through its individual practitioners but also through the community spaces and practices that keep living cultural traditions vital,” stated Chad Buterbaugh, Director of Maryland Traditions. “These people, places, and traditions make up our state’s cultural fabric, and it’s a true honor to give them this kind of public recognition,” said Maryland Traditions Folklorist, Ashley Minner.

The three awards are based on the following criteria:

The person/people awards are selected based on their demonstration of the highest standards of excellence in such areas as research, documentation, presentation, entrepreneurship, artistry, stewardship, and community impact.

The place award honors those that specially serve to keep traditions alive and are meaningful and effective gathering places or sites for carrying on living or endangered traditions.

The tradition award recognizes those that connect communities to cultural heritage in ways that exemplify Maryland’s dynamic spirit and may include events, occupations, knowledge, cultural scenes, and organizations.

The Maryland Heritage Awards were established in honor of folklorist and community leader Dr. Alta Schrock (1911-2001). Dr. Schrock, a native of Garrett County, taught biology at Frostburg State University and founded publications, events and lasting institutions designed to share and safeguard her region’s traditional art forms. Her achievements in cultural conservation include the creation of The Spruce Forest Artisan Village, Penn Alps, the Journal of the Alleghenies and the Springs Festival. Dr. Schrock’s legacy and work are a continuing source of inspiration for the Maryland Traditions Heritage Awards today.