Bess Lomax Hawes
- Category : Entertain-Music-Instrumentalist
- Type : PM
- Profile : 5/1 - Heretical / Investigator
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Distraction 2
American folk musician, folklorist, and researcher.
In the early 1940s she moved to New York City, where she was active on the folk scene. In 1942, she married singer, Baldwin "Butch" Hawes. Woody Guthrie taught her mandolin.
She became well-known for her technique of teaching guitar to large groups of people simultaneously. In the 1950s she moved to California, where she taught guitar, banjo, mandolin and folk singing. In 1968 she became Associate Professor of Anthropology at San Fernando Valley State College. Her husband died in 1971.
In 1975, she accepted a position in administration at the Smithsonian Institution, where she was instrumental in organizing the 1976 Bicentennial Festival of Traditional Folk Arts on the National Mall. In 1977, she was named first director of the Folk and Traditional Arts Program at the National Endowment for the Arts, and created the National Heritage Fellowships, which recognize traditional artists and performers. She retired in 1992.
Bess Lomax Hawes was the recipient of the National Medal of Arts awarded in 1993 by President Bill Clinton. An NEA traditional arts award is named in her honor. Her memoir, Sing It Pretty, was published in 2008. She died on 27 November 2009, aged 88, following a stroke in Portland, Oregon.