Barbara Lynn Receives 2018 NEA National Heritage Fellowship

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Texas Folklife would like to congratulate one of our long-time collaborators, “The Empress of Gulf Coast Soul,” Barbara Lynn, on receiving a 2018 NEA National Heritage Fellowship.  Lynn is one of ten artists to receive this distinction in the 2018 NEA National Heritage Fellowship class. You can read more about the NEA National Heritage Fellowship in the Press Release below.

In 2009 Texas Folklife presented Barbara Lynn And Friends at the American Folklife Center Homegrown Concert Series.  More info here:

Barbara Lynn Ozen was born in Beaumont, Texas in 1942. She started teaching herself to play guitar in elementary school and, before long, was writing her own music and performing in talent shows. Barbara has broken many barriers throughout her carrier. She is the first female left-handed guitarist to play on television and radio; she was one of the pioneering female artists to front a band; and she has toured with many legendary music icons including Smokey Robinson, Ike and Tina Turner, Aretha Franklin, and BB King. She has had ten singles in the Top 100 including one of her first singles “You’ll Lose a Good Thing.”

Congratulations on this amazing achievement Barbara, we wish you continued success in your career!

Barbara Lynn’s accomplishments:

·      1962: Released “You’ll Lose a Good Thing” (Appeared at no. 1 on the R&B charts and no. 8 on the Pop charts)

·      1963: Appeared on American Bandstand

·      1965: Lynn’s song “We’ve Got A Good Thing Goin” covered by the Rolling Stones

·      1966: Signed to Meaux’s Tribe label

·      1967: Signed to Atlantic Recording Corporation

·      1984: Toured Japan and recorded her live album You Don’t Have to Go

·      1999: Received a “Pioneer Award” by the Rhythm and Blues Foundation

·      2010: Star of Texas Folklife Award Recipient

·      2010: Gifted Barbara Lynn Street in the City of Beaumont

·      2018: NEA National Heritage Fellow Recipient


Biographical information acquired from NEA National Heritage Fellowships Bios at


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 20, 2018                                              

Contact: Liz Auclair, 202-682-5744,

National Endowment for the Arts Announces 2018 National Heritage Fellows

Master Folk and Traditional Artists Celebrated at Free Events in September

Washington, DC— Today the National Endowment for the Arts is announcing the newest recipients of the NEA National Heritage Fellowships, who range from an old-time fiddler to a Day of the Dead altar maker to an R&B musician. The NEA National Heritage Fellowships, awarded annually by the National Endowment for the Arts, highlight the breadth and excellence of the artistic traditions found in communities all across the United States. The 2018 recipients will receive a $25,000 award and be honored in Washington, DC at an awards ceremony on September 26, 2018 and at a free concert on September 28, 2018. The concert will be streamed live at


The 2018 NEA National Heritage Fellows are:

·Feryal Abbasi-Ghnaim (Milwaukie, OR)—Palestinian embroiderer

·Eddie Bond (Fries, VA)—Appalachian old-time fiddler

·Kelly Church (Allegan, MI)—Anishinabe (Gun Lake Band) black ash basketmaker

·Marion Coleman (Castro Valley, CA)—African-American quilter

·Manuel Cuevas (Nashville, TN)—rodeo tailor

·Ofelia Esparza (Los Angeles, CA)—Chicana altarista (Day of the Dead altar maker)

·Barbara Lynn (Beaumont, TX)—R&B musician

·Don & Cindy Roy (Gorham, ME)—Franco-American musicians

·Ethel Raim (New York, NY)—traditional music and dance advocate

Raim is the recipient of the 2018 Bess Lomax Hawes NEA National Heritage Fellowship in recognition of an individual who has made a significant contribution to the preservation and awareness of cultural heritage.


“The 2018 NEA National Heritage Fellows have dedicated their lives to mastering these distinctive art forms and sharing them with new audiences both within their communities and nationwide,” said Mary Anne Carter, acting chairman for the National Endowment for the Arts. “We look forward to celebrating them and their incredible artistic accomplishments this fall.”


In addition to their artistic value, each of the Heritage Fellows’ art forms also reflects the community they come from and the history of the tradition, whether it’s a material art form—such as Manuel’s iconic suits and the patterns of Feryal Abbasi-Ghnaim’s embroidery—or a musical art form—such as Don and Cindy Roy’s Franco-American music. These artistic traditions and the stories behind them will be shared at two events in Washington, DC, both of which are free and open to the public.

·The NEA National Heritage Fellowships Awards Ceremony will take place at the Library of Congress’s Thomas Jefferson Building at 10 First Street SE in Washington, DC on Wednesday, September 26, 2018 at 5:30 p.m.

·The NEA National Heritage Fellowships Concert will take place at Sidney Harman Hall at 610 F Street NW in Washington, DC on Friday, September 28, 2018 at 8:00 p.m. The concert will also be webcast live at More concert details and ticket information will be available later this summer.

About the NEA National Heritage Fellowships

The National Heritage Fellowships—the nation’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts—recognize the recipients' artistic excellence and support their continuing contributions to our nation's traditional arts heritage. Including the 2018 class, the NEA has awarded 431 NEA National Heritage Fellowships, recognizing artists working in more than 200 distinct art forms, such as bluesman B.B. King, Cajun fiddler and composer Michael Doucet, sweetgrass basketweaver Mary Jackson, cowboy poet Wally McRae, Kathak dancer and choreographer Chitresh Das, and gospel and soul singer Mavis Staples. More information about the NEA National Heritage Fellows is available on the NEA’s website.


Fellowship recipients are nominated by the public, often by members of their own communities, and then judged by a panel of experts in the folk and traditional arts. The panel’s recommendations are reviewed by the National Council on the Arts, which sends its recommendations to the NEA chairman, who makes the final decision. The NEA is currently accepting nominations for the 2019 class of NEA National Heritage Fellowships. The deadline is July 30, 2018. Visit the NEA's website for more information and to submit a nomination.


About the National Endowment for the Arts

Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. Visit to learn more about NEA.