Clifford Murphy, American Studies, Selected for National Arts Director Position

Clifford Murphy, an adjunct lecturer of American studies, has been selected by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to be its new director of folk and traditional arts. Murphy, an adjunct lecturer of American studies, will manage NEA grantmaking in folk and traditional arts, oversee the NEA National Heritage Fellowship program, and represent the agency in the field as part of the new role.

Clifford MurphyMurphy is currently director of Maryland Traditions, the folklife program of the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC) and last year helped bring MSAC’s 40 years of folklife archives into UMBC’s library system, making the collection available to the public.

“Working as a state folklorist in Maryland has brought me into close collaboration with remarkable artists, communities, and innovative organizations” said Murphy in a press release announcing the new position. “I’m incredibly excited about joining the NEA and being of service to folk and traditional artists, advocates, and programs nationwide.”

“Clifford has an impressive range of experience in the folk and traditional arts,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “The NEA will surely benefit from his skills as an administrator, a university professor, a field folklorist, and his time as a touring musician.”

Murphy was featured in UMBC Magazine earlier this year for his research on country and western music in his home region of New England. The New Hampshire native and ethnomusicologist recently published his findings in a new book: Yankee Twang: Country and Western Music in New England (University of Illinois, 2014).