Extraordinary Ordinary People: American Masters of Traditional Arts

September 11 – November 30, 2015

Jack Straw Cultural Center teamed up with Northwest Heritage Resources in 2015 to present the nationwide exhibit Extraordinary Ordinary People: American Masters of Traditional Arts in Seattle.

In every community, individuals with excellence and authenticity contribute to the rich artistic and cultural legacies of the United States. Extraordinary Ordinary People recognizes the best of these traditional artists – recipients of the NEA’s National Heritage Fellowship – through photographs, art objects, videos and interactive media.

The exhibit shares a name with a young-readers book authored by Alan Govenar in 2006, which profiled five National Heritage fellows. Govenar, a folklorist and scholar based in Austin, Texas, established the nonprofit Documentary Arts, which produced the exhibit and much of its filmed content. Extraordinary Ordinary People: American Masters of Traditional Arts collected recipients of the NEA’s Heritage Fellowship and puts them under one roof, moving from venue to venue across the country with accompanying public programs. First featured at the Michigan State University Museum, the exhibit boasted large, eye-catching portraits of many honorees by Govenar, plus interactive sound and video features.

Jack Straw Cultural Center proudly presented the multimedia show in Seattle from September 11 to November 30, 2015, along with a wide range of traditional artist performances and humanities programs.

Visit the Extraordinary Ordinary People program page for more media and information on this exhibit and its associated programs.


Etienne Cakpo

Etienne Cakpo is an award-winning professional dancer, choreographer and musician from Benin, West Africa. He teaches and performs traditional African dance from Benin as well as contemporary African dance…


Debi Prasad Chatterjee

Pandit Debi Prasad Chatterjee is a distinguished name among Indian musicians as an outstanding sitarist and a highly regarded teacher of Indian Classical Music. Pt. Chatterjee belongs to the Senia…


John Morovich / Sinovi
Tamburitza Orchestra

John Morovich grew up in Seattle’s sizable Croatian community. Since 1973, he has studied, taught, and performed traditional music and dance of Croatia and other parts of Southeastern Europe…