One of South Dakota’s own has just received the highest national honor in the folk and traditional arts. Bryan Akipa of Sisseton was just announced as a 2016 National Heritage Fellow by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Akipa is a master of the art of both making and playing the Dakota flute and has long been recognized in his home state for his skill. Among other connections to the South Dakota Arts Council alone, Akipa has been a master in our Traditional Arts Apprenticeship program as well as a featured artists in a past statewide touring exhibit, “Tree of Life: South Dakota Woodworking Traditions.”
Not only is Akipa a master of his craft, but he has shown his willingness and commitment to sharing his knowledge with other artists and subsequent generations through his work with SDAC and other organizations, groups, and individuals. Along with the other 2016 national fellows, he will receive a $25,000 award and be recognized at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., in September.
Learn more about the 2016 class of National Heritage Fellows via the NEA announcement, and be sure to take a closer look and listen to one of South Dakota’s leading artists through SDAC Folklorist and Traditional Arts Coordinator Andrea Graham’s biography of Bryan Akipa. Congratulations, Bryan, on this tremendous achievement – what an honor for you and your home state! #NEAHeritage16