March 30, 2019

2019 Michigan Heritage Awardees Announced

The Michigan Traditional Arts Program of the Michigan State University Museum announces honorees in a program celebrating cultural heritage in Michigan: the 2019 Michigan Heritage Awards.

The Michigan Heritage Award (MHA) is the state’s highest distinction to honor individuals who continue their family, community, or cultural traditions with excellence and devotion.

“The Michigan Heritage Awards are presented each year to honor master tradition bearers in Michigan who continue the folk traditions of their families and communities through practice and teaching,” explains Marsha MacDowell, Curator of Folk Arts at the MSU Museum and Director of the Michigan Traditional Arts Program.

Receiving a 2019 Michigan Heritage award for their traditional arts achievements are:

Elgia Hickok (posthumous award) formerly of Freeman Township (Clare County) for dulcimer playing and as founding member of the Original Dulcimer Players Club

Roger LaBine of Trout Lake (Ontonagon County) for wild rice cultivation, collection, and processing

Martin Solis, Jr., of Melvindale (Wayne County) for conjunto music- bajo sexto and vocals

“The attention and honor extended to these artists through the Michigan Heritage Awards are important not only to them but to all of us who cherish the state’s cultural heritage,” explains Marsha MacDowell, Curator of Folk Arts at the MSU Museum and director of the Michigan Traditional Arts Program. “We seek nominations from all over the state so that the awards continue to reflect the great diversity of skills, ethnicities, and cultural backgrounds of Michiganders,” she adds.

The awards were given out following a thorough review by a panel of three folklife, community arts, and cultural scholars and educators. The nominations were considered based on depth of experience, community engagement, representation of the tradition, samples of work, and letters of recommendation when determining the merit of each award. 

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