The Florida Folklife Council, in conjunction with the Division of Historical Resources, confers Florida Folk Heritage Awards annually. They are given to outstanding folk artists and folk cultural advocates. The purpose of the awards, in recognizing folk artists, is to honor Floridians whose lifelong devotion to and whose skills and accomplishments in the folk arts and crafts are distinguished affirmations of the rich cultural legacy which the citizens of Florida wish to acknowledge, celebrate, and conserve. In recognizing folk culture advocates, the intent of the Council is to honor individuals whose knowledge of and efforts on behalf of Florida folk arts, folklore, and folklife have advanced the appreciation and conservation of the diversified folk cultural heritage of the state.
The works of the individuals must be worthy of state recognition and relate directly to the long-standing, intangible cultural resources, or folklife, of the state. The Council uses the term Florida folklife to mean "the traditional expressive culture shared within the various groups in Florida: familial, ethnic, occupational, religious, and regional. Expressive culture includes a wide range of creative and symbolic forms such as custom, belief, technical skill, language, literature, art, architecture, music, play, dance, drama, ritual, pageantry, and handicraft, which forms are generally learned orally, by imitation, or in performance and are maintained or perpetuated without formal instruction or institutional direction." (Section 267.021(6), Florida Statutes)
The awards are a reflection of community and peer appreciation. They are designed to complement such parallel acknowledgments of folk artists and cultural leaders as the Ambassador of the Arts Award conferred by the Secretary of State and the National Heritage Fellowships awarded by the National Endowments for the Arts. The Folk Heritage Awards carry no financial reward. The Council intends them to be honorific expressions of gratitude for exemplary contributions to the state.
Nominations for the Florida Folk Heritage Award are to be made with a letter to the Florida Folklife Council sent in care of the Division of Historical Resources, R.A. Gray Building, 500 South Bronough Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0250. Each June, the Division of Historical Resources formally announces the award program and solicits nominations through a statewide news release and letters to interested individuals and organizations. Nominations received by October 1 of any year will be considered in selecting the recipients of the award for the following year.
Nominations should describe the accomplishments and background of the nominee. Heritage Award nominations also require at least two letters of support from community members, colleagues, peers, cultural specialists, or any other individuals who can confirm the details of the nomination and attest to the nominee's qualifications for the award. Please submit no more than five letters of support per nomination. Photographs, press clippings, performance programs or flyers, phonograph records, tape recordings, CDs, VHS tapes, DVDs, digital recordings, web links, other forms of documentation, or actual samples of the individual's work in support of the nomination are encouraged. Please limit support materials to no more than 10 items. In addition, video and audio recordings should not exceed 10 minutes in total length, whether the support material represents a single work or selections from multiple works. If you have any questions or concerns about exceeding these limitations, please contact Folklife Program staff for assistance.
Nominations shall be in effect for two years. Nominees who are not selected for the award the first year they are considered will be automatically reconsidered the following year. However, if a nomination is scored below the predetermined threshold and is not updated with additional support materials or letters of support, it will not be held for review in the second year. Florida nominees not selected on second consideration will be dropped unless re-nominated in writing for another two years.
Nominations received by October 1 will be presented to the Council at its winter meeting for preliminary review and discussion. The Council will study the nominations and select the individuals to be recommended for designation by the Secretary of State. A representative of the Folklife Program will notify all those nominated after the council's recommendations have been approved.
The Council will consider as outstanding folk artists who are well known, both within their cultural communities and beyond those communities, for eminence in a form of traditional expressive culture. The criteria for evaluation are excellence, authenticity, and significance within the particular artistic tradition.
The Council will consider as folk cultural advocates those cultural interpreters, community leaders, and folklorists whose works have led to increased recognition, knowledge, aesthetic enjoyment, and cultural understanding of Florida folklife. The criteria for evaluation are quality, impact, and significance of a nominee's work to the folk traditions of the state. It is presumed that nominees will be living at the time of the nomination. Special posthumous awards, however, will be considered.
Winners will be recognized at a special awards ceremony in Tallahassee during Florida Heritage Week in March.