Arkansas Living Treasure Award

 

The Arkansas Living Treasure program annually recognizes an Arkansas artist who excels in the creation of a traditional arts or craft and who actively preserves and advances his or her craft through community outreach or educating others.

An independent panel of practicing craft artists and professionals in the fields of craft and folk art selects the recipient based on the following criteria: quality of work, overall significance of the body of work, community outreach or education and total contribution to the field of traditional arts or crafts.

In 2013, the Arkansas Arts Council and Historic Arkansas Museum collaborated to produce a series of short films that celebrate the lives and work of each Arkansas Living Treasure recipient. Click here to view the documentaries featured in the Arkansas Living Treasure Film Project.   

The Arkansas Living Treasure program was modeled upon the National Living Treasure Award presented by the University of North Carolina at Wilmington Museum of World Cultures

male portrait
Current Recipient

The Arkansas Arts Council is pleased to announce and recognize Michael Warwick as the 2020 Arkansas Living Treasure for his work and dedication to the craft of metalworking.

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An internationally recognized bladesmith from Arkansas named Jerry Fisk received the National Living Treasure award in 1999 and suggested to Arkansas Heritage that Arkansas establish a similar program. Thus, the Arkansas Living Treasure program was born in 2002. In 2019, the Arkansas Arts Council awarded Jerry Fisk as an Honorary Arkansas Living Treasure.
 

The Selection Process

The Arkansas Living Treasure Award program honors Arkansans who are masters of a folk or traditional craft.

Every year, the Arkansas Arts Council seeks nominations for master craftspeople who cherish Arkansas’s cultural heritage through traditional arts or crafts. Arkansas Living Treasure awardees have lifelong experiences in developing their crafts and are dedicated to inspiring others.

Folk or traditional crafts include, but are not limited to, traditional songwriting, traditional folk dancing, bladesmithing, weaving and quilting. Previous Arkansas Living Treasure awardees have included sculpture work, metalwork, pottery and traditional woodwork, including building rocking chairs, musical instruments and log cabins.

An independent panel of practicing craft artists and professionals in the fields of craft and folk art will review the nominations and select the recipient based on the following criteria: quality of work, overall significance of the body of work, community outreach and total contribution to the field of traditional crafts and/or folk arts. The panel looks for a well-rounded craftsperson who creates quality, artistic and technical work and is involved in activities that help maintain or advance a traditional craft for future generations. The Arkansas Living Treasure recipient is honored during a ceremony in May.

The deadline to nominate an artist is Dec. 20.

 
pottery in progress
 

Past Recipients

Since 2002, the Arkansas Arts Council has recognized Arkansas Living Treasures, Arkansas artisans who excel in the practice of a traditional craft and who have passed the tradition on to the next generation. 

  • 2021 Not Awarded
  • 2020 Michael Warrick - Metalworking - Little Rock
  • 2019 Longhua Xu - Wood Carving - Hot Springs
  • 2018 Hank Kaminsky - Sculpture - Fayetteville
  • 2017 Louise Halsey - Textile Arts - Oark
  • 2016 Eleanor Lux - Weaving - Eureka Springs
  • 2015 Lorrie Popow - Egg Art - Hot Springs
  • 2014 Robert Runyan - Log Cabin Construction - Winslow
  • 2013 Dallas Bump - Chairmaking - Royal
  • 2012 Jim Larkin - Pottery - Hot Springs
  • 2011 Winston Taylor - Pottery - Russellville
  • 2010 Peter Lippincott - Pottery - Fort Smith
  • 2009 Doug Stowe - Wood Sculpture - Eureka Springs
  • 2008 Robyn Horn - Wood Sculpture - Little Rock
  • 2007 James R. Cook - Bladesmith - Nashville
  • 2006 Larry Williams - Woodworking Planes - Eureka Springs
  • 2005 Leon Niehues - Basket Making - Huntsville
  • 2004 Violet Hensley - Fiddle Making - Yellville
  • 2003 Irma Gail Hatcher - Quilts - Conway
  • 2002 Beatrice Stebbing - Stained Glass - Siloam Springs
 
 

Nominate an Artist

  • Attach a typed statement substantiating the nominee’s contribution to his or her craft, using no more than two, double-spaced pages.
  • Nominators or nominees must submit two additional letters of support which may include professional folklorist recommendations, the artist’s students and community leaders.

An independent panel of professionals in the field of craft will make the selection. Current Arkansas Arts Council Advisory Board members and staff of the Department of Arkansas Heritage or their immediate families are not eligible to nominate or be nominated. Posthumous nominations will not be accepted.

The deadline to nominate an artist is Dec. 20.