While traditional and folk arts are grounded in communities and accessible to all, there inevitably arise exemplary practitioners of any art form who take those traditions to new heights. All of these artists would practice their skills regardless of payment or recognition, and many of them would never think to call themselves artists. They do their work out of love, out of a deep need to express who they are and where they come from, and a talent honed over many years of practice and work.
There are many excellent traditional artists in Nevada, and the Online Nevada Encyclopedia features those who have already gone through a rigorous selection process—they are the recipients of the Governor's Arts Awards for Excellence in Folk and Traditional Arts, or they are folk artists who have received the award in another category. Since 1983, the Nevada Arts Council, a division of the Nevada Department of Cultural Affairs, has recognized these artists with a Governor's Arts Award. The Arts Council has honored over twenty artists for their outstanding contributions to the folk arts.
The following individuals represent a small sample of the hundreds of performing and craft artists who make Nevada a better place as they honor their heritage by practicing, preserving, and passing on their traditional arts:
Adam Fortunate Eagle
Chief Rolling Mountain Thunder
Elko Basque Club
JoAnn Smokey Martinez
Thelma Davis Calhoun
Theresa Smokey Jackson