DATE: June 7, 2022
SILVER SPRING, MD – The National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA) is proud to announce the launch of National Treasures: A Tour of Culture Bearers in National Parks. A pilot program of the 2026 United States Semiquincentennial in collaboration with the National Park Service (NPS), National Treasures showcases the nation’s most distinguished cultural ambassadors at signature National Parks throughout the American landscape. The program features recipients of the National Endowment for the Arts’ prestigious National Heritage Fellowship, the nation’s highest honor awarded to folk and traditional artists. By connecting Fellows and their collaborators with historically and geographically significant national landmarks, National Treasures builds on the NCTA’s portfolio of programs with traditional artists and local NPS partners while inviting compelling new conversations and fresh narratives about American heritage and identity.
National Treasures debuts on Friday, June 10, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, at the San Juan National Historic Site. Featuring Afro-Puerto Rican percussion master and 1996 National Heritage Fellow Juan Gutiérrez, this program will bring the artistry and message of bomba y plena practitioners from the island and beyond to the local audience gathered at 4pm local time. This free, public performance takes place at the entrance to Castillo San Cristóbal, a 17th-century Spanish colonial castle managed by NPS. Visit the San Juan NPS facebook page for live updates from this exciting event, presented in partnership with La Casa de la Plena and Tito Matos Fest, a festival on June 11 in Santurce, Puerto Rico, honoring the late Tito Matos.
The following month, National Treasures continues on Wednesday, July 6, when Iraqi oud master and 2015 National Heritage Fellow Rahim AlHaj performs at Petroglyph National Monument in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Beginning at 7pm local time, AlHaj will share the millennia-old music tradition of his homeland amidst the ancient rock carvings of his adopted landscape. This program is free to the public, with more details to be shared in the coming month.
National Treasures pilot programs will continue throughout 2022, bringing the artistry of National Heritage Fellows to NPS sites across the country. Stay tuned for more event announcements soon! Learn more at www.ncta-usa.org/nationaltreasures, and submit proposals for future National Heritage Fellow/National Park collaborations.
A leading non-profit in the field, the National Council for the Traditional Arts is dedicated to the presentation and documentation of folk and traditional arts in the U.S. Stressing excellence and authenticity, it works in partnership with American communities to establish new, sustainable traditional arts events that deliver lasting social, cultural and economic benefits.
Since entering into a cooperative agreement with the National Park Service (NPS) in 1970, the NCTA has offered a wide range of programmatic assistance to over 50 NPS-administered sites in 36 states and U.S. territories. Its work has included planning new parks, conducting ethnographic studies, organizing crafts and museum exhibits, developing traditional music presentations, training park personnel in cultural presentation techniques, and assisting local non-profit groups with organizing cultural events in national parks.
Learn more here.
The National Park Service preserves unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations. It cooperates with partners to extend the benefits of natural and cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation throughout this country and the world.
Learn more here.