On Tuesday, June 19th, 2012, the National Endowment for the Arts announced that Andy Statman is to be awarded a National Heritage Fellowship, the nation's highest honor in the folk and traditional arts. According to the NEA, this program, now in its thirtieth year, "recognizes folk and traditional artists for their artistic excellence and efforts to conserve America’s culture for future generations". Andy thus joins an elite group of honorees, including Bill Monroe, BB King, Ralph Stanley, John Lee Hooker, Doc Watson and Klezmer pioneer Dave Tarras, one of Andy's early mentors. Fellow members of the National Heritage class of 2012 include Texan-Mexican accordion master "Flaco" Jiménez and dobro luminary Mike Auldridge.
The NEA commends Andy and the other recipients for having "honored the history of their art forms while also incorporating their own creativity and innovation to carry the art forms into the 21st century."
The full NEA press release can be found here, and their profile of Andy is here.