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Through fascinating profiles of five National Heritage Fellows, folklorist Alan Govenar celebrates the cultural democracy that is America and honors the endurance of traditional crafts and methods. In bustling midtown Manhattan, Qi Shu Fang applies the elaborate makeup and headwear required for her role as a Chinese opera singer, an impressive art she learned in her native Beijing. Overlooking a quiet little garden in Nyssa, Oregon, Eva Castellanoz starts her day as a maker of paper-and-wax coronas, delicate tissue-paper flower wreaths she learned to make in Mexico, her childhood home. Meanwhile, Ralph W. Stanley keeps the craft of boat building alive in his coastal Maine town, and Dorothy Trumpold carries on the rug-weaving technique her grandfather taught her in Amana, Iowa. And for fifty-two years, the late Allison "Tootie" Montana designed magnificent beaded-and-feathered regalia to show off as Mardi Gras Indian suits. Each of these artists is a recipient of a prestigious National Heritage Fellowship bestowed by the National Endowment for the Arts. And all come wonderfully alive through candid interviews with renowned folklorist Alan Govenar and captivating full-color photographs, highlighting their life stories, their art forms, their culture, their individuality, and their inspiration. These people may be ordinary in that they remind us of our neighbors, our families, or our friends. Yet all are extraordinary in their passion for their work and in their commitment to artistic excellence and to its importance in all of our lives."
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About the Author

ALAN GOVENAR is an artist, filmmaker, photographer, and folklorist, as well as the author of numerous books, including the award-winning OSCEOLA: MEMORIES OF A SHARECROPPER'S DAUGHTER, illustrated by Shane W. Evans. "EXTRAORDINARY ORDINARY PEOPLE is a journey across America through the lives and creativity of five individuals," he says. "These artists are innovators and teachers, eager to share their skills and knowledge. Their stories -- relayed mostly through their own words -- speak to the importance of determination, perseverance, and humor." Alan Govenar is the president and founder of Documentary Arts, Inc., a nonprofit organization founded to broaden public knowledge and appreciation of the arts of different cultures. In addition, he is the producer of MASTERS OF TRADITIONAL ARTS, a multifaceted project focusing on more than twenty years of the National Heritage Fellowship program.

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