Arkansas Living Treasure Award


The Arkansas Living Treasure program annually recognizes, honors and celebrates masters of traditional crafts and/or folk arts in Arkansas with the goal of highlighting and preserving Arkansas's unique heritage, identity, culture and history. Nationwide traditional crafts and folk arts are fading away, but this award helps spotlight the significance of creatives working in this field while also perpetuating and sustaining craft and folk traditions in Arkansas.

The award recognizes the lifetime achievements and contributions to heritage arts and crafts of Arkansas. The chosen individual is worthy of statewide recognition because of their mastery and dedication to perpetuating their chosen traditional craft or folk art.

Nominations open Monday, November 13 and close Friday, January 26, 2024.

Lin Rhea ALTA
Current Recipient

The Arkansas Arts Council is pleased to announce and recognize Lin Rhea as the 2023 Arkansas Living Treasure for his work and dedication to the craft of bladesmithing.

Read More

For more information about the Arkansas Living Treaure program, contact Scarlet Sims at [email protected] or 501-324-9348.

What are folk arts and traditional crafts?

Traditional craft and folk arts are rooted in and reflective of the culture, heritage, history, traditions and life of communities in Arkansas. Communities share common history and geographic location and can share ethnicity, religion and language. Traditional crafts and folk arts reflect these communities and include, but are not limited to, pottery, bladesmithing, metalworking, blacksmithing, knife-making, quilting, basketweaving, woodworking, traditional dancing, traditional oral expression and weaving or textile work. 


1. Living in Arkansas at least one year at the time of nomination. 

2. Have longstanding histories of quality traditional crafts or folk arts in their communities. 

3. Show mastery of traditional craft or folk arts. 

4. Have contributed to the perpetuation of their chosen craft or traditional art. Contributions include perpetuating folk arts or traditional craft through advocacy, visibility, academic teaching and organizing participation, e.g., festivals and events. Creatives also can meet these criteria through one-on-one education, apprenticeships, mentorships, leading informal groups or creating informal learning opportunities that connect youth or younger generations with a traditional folk art or traditional craft. 

5. Creating work that has heritage or cultural significant and is deeply rooted in Arkansas. 

6. Current Arkansas Arts Council Advisory Board members and staff of the Department of  Parks , Heritage and Tourism or their immediate families are not eligible to nominate or be nominated. Posthumous nominations will not be accepted.

Fill out the nomination form to the right. Or, nomination forms may be printed and mailed to 1100 North St., Little Rock, AR, 72201. No self nominations are accepted.

1. Provide a physical creation representing the best of their craft or traditional art. OR, if the nominee is a performing traditional folk artist, please provide a video showing skill and mastery. Links to videos for performing works should be included in a resume or portfolio. 

2. A detailed resume that shows lifetime achievement 

3. A portfolio (pdf or PowerPoint accepted) with at least 20 images of labeled works (title, media, date, method). The portfolio must include a bio statement or narrative. Creatives may turn in a video or audio clip in addition to or instead of the portfolio. Any video submitted should not exceed 6 minutes. The portfolio and/or videos should show the nominee’s abilities, methods, influences, and the works’ ties to Arkansas. 

  • - All nominees should answer the following questions in their submitted materials: 

  • - How and when did you learn your traditional folk art or craft?  

  • - How have you contributed to the preservation or promotion of your craft/traditional art? 

  • - What connection does your craft/traditional art have to Arkansas history, culture, heritage or identity? 

  • - Why should you receive this recognition? What makes you a master of your traditional craft or folk arts? 

* If video is included in a printed form, printed submissions must include the URL links to videos inside the printed resume and/or portfolio and should not be sent separately. The Arkansas Arts Council cannot use or accept thumb drives, DVDs or CDs.  

1. Portfolio with up to 20 images with labels (time, place, title, media, etc.), a resume, narrative statement and/or video (A 6-minute video can substitute for your portfolio.) Your nominator may do this for you. 

2. Deliver an example work to Arkansas Heritage at 1100 North St., Little Rock, AR, 72201. We accept mailed-in works. 


Arkansas Living Treasure Award FAQ

No, nominations are accepted only from people who know you and your works. Nominations can be submitted by friends, family, mentors, students, community members, etc. 
Nominations should be made by, and recommendation letters should be written by, people who are close to the nominee and who understand and can explain the nominee’s community contributions and mastery of traditional craft or folk arts. Nomination letters should say why the nominee should receive the recognition. Letters may be short. For an example, see sample nomination letter by clicking here (Sample Nomination Letter).
The Arkansas Living Treasure Award is highly competitive and requires detailed submissions. Effective nominations and nominee information showcases the quality, longevity, range or breadth and history of the creative’s work; adds details about how the work is connect to Arkansas heritage, culture, identity or history; provides examples of community engagement and craft/art preservation through education and/or advocacy; provides a breadth of work examples (via photos) that includes varied techniques; and provides quality images and/or video. The submitted works must not be, or be similar to, contemporary craft or fine art. This award is for functional craft or traditional folk art that has historical ties to Arkansas. 
An independent panel of judges who are professionals in the fields of craft or traditional folk arts reviews submissions and ranks nominees based on mastery and experience, perpetuation of traditional craft/folk art through community, and significant ties to Arkansas’s history, traditions, culture or identity. The panel is comprised of professionals in traditional craft and folk arts fields. Nominees can review an example ballot by clicking here.

It will not be accepted. Traditional craft is functional. Contemporary craft uses heritage techniques but can be nonfunctional. If your work is not functional, you may be interested in applying for our Individual Artist Fellowship Award in the category of Contemporary Craft. 

Yes, we can provide technical assistance and help for your submission, including a video. To add a video, you will need to shoot a video (using your phone works great), then upload the video to a shareable platform, such as GoogleDrive, YouTube or DropBox. Alternatively, you can add the video to social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram but make sure it’s public. The video does not need to be professional, but it should have hearable audio. After you create the video (no editing required) and upload it to a free platform, you can add the shareable link to your video to your portfolio or resume. To do this, simply copy and past the URL location and put it into your document before you save it. 

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. 

  • 2023 Lin Rhea - Bladesmithing - Prattsville
  • 2022 James "Kimbo" Dryden - Pottery - Hot Springs
  • 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

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