A blog sponsored by the Michigan State University Museum's Michigan Traditional Arts Program, a partnership with the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs. Sharing news and information about the Great Lakes Folk Festival, Quilt Index, the MSU Museum's traditional arts activities, Great Lakes traditional artists and arts resources, and much more. Development of content for this blog supported by funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Michigan’s Yvonne Walker Keshick named NEA National Heritage Fellow

Yvonne Walker Keshick
Photo by Doug Elbinger
The nation’s highest honor for folk and traditional arts has been awarded to Yvonne Walker Keshick, a porcupine quillworker from Northern Michigan, who is among the 2014 honorees joining the ranks of the prestigious National Heritage Fellowships, a lifetime honor awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts, Washington, D.C.

Keshick at work
Photo by Doug Elbinger

Keshick, a member of the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa, is one of the finest quillwork artists in North America. She is a 1992 recipient of a Michigan Heritage Award (MHA) from the MSU Museum, the state’s highest honor for tradition-bearers who sustain cultural practices with excellence and authenticity.

Quill box by Yvonne Walker Keshick
Photo by Pearl Yee Wong,  MSU Museum

Quill box by Yvonne Walker Keshick
Photo by Pearl Yee Wong,  MSU Museum


 Keshick’s nomination for NEA Heritage Fellow was led by the MSU Museum, the home of the Michigan Traditional Arts Program. In addition to her MHA honor, Keshick and her work have been featured at the MSU Museum’s Great Lakes Folk Festival, as well as at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival’s 2006 “Carriers of Culture: Living Native Basket Traditions” program. Examples of Keshick’s basketry are also included in the MSU Museum’s cultural collections.

Yvonne Walker Keshick is the first Michigan tradition-bearer to be recognized with the NEA National Heritage Fellowship since Nadim Dlaikan in 2002, Lebanese-American nye (reed flute) musician.

Read Keshick’s bio here.


The NEA National Heritage Fellowships honor the importance of traditions to our nation's cultural heritage. Fellowship recipients are nominated by the public, often by members of their own communities, and then judged by a panel of experts in folk and traditional arts on the basis of their continuing artistic accomplishments and contributions as practitioners and teachers.