NEA Discipline Directors
Barry Bergey became Director of Folk and Traditional Arts at the National Endowment for the Arts in January 2001. In addition to managing NEA grants on folk and traditional arts, Bergey directs the NEA National Heritage Fellowships, the premiere American lifetime honors for individual accomplishments in folk and traditional arts. Bergey provides guidance and support for folk arts infrastructure and statewide apprenticeship programs, as well as technical assistance in the field. Bergey also provides ongoing counsel to the U.S. Department of State on international cultural policy issues.
Bergey came to the NEA as Senior Arts Specialist in 1985 after having served as the State Folk Arts Coordinator in Missouri. Bergey has been active in the field of cultural heritage for the past 30 years as a fieldworker, festival organizer, radio producer, curator, and arts administrator. He co-produced I’m Old But I’m Awfully Tough: Traditional Music of the Ozark Region, a recording documenting traditional musicians of the Ozarks and he served as a curator of a touring exhibition The German Housebarn in America: Object and Image.
His writing has included a chapter on music and public policy for the Garland Encyclopedia of World Music and, with others, "Institutions and Processes Affecting Music in the United States" in Music Cultures in the United States (Routledge, 2005). From 1995-2000 he served as a consultant to the Center for U.S.-China Arts Exchange for their Joint Plan on Yunnan National Cultures Project. This work involved five trips to Yunnan and he delivered a paper on "Cultural Conservancy and Development" at the Leadership Conference on Conservancy and Development in Lijiang in 1999.
His involvement in international arts policy issues has included serving on the U.S. delegation for the UNESCO Intergovernmental Meetings of Experts to Draft a Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage and acting as head of the U.S. delegation to the first meeting of the Inter-American Committee on Culture of the Organization of American States in 2003.
In 2005, Bergey was a member of the U.S. delegation to UNESCO involved in drafting a proposed Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.
National Endowment for the Arts · an independent federal agency