Arhoolie Foundation to Receive $25,000 Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts

Grant to support further development of virtual museum

El Cerrito, CA The Arhoolie Foundation has been approved for a $25,000 Grants for Arts Projects award from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to support further development of the Arhoolie Foundation website. This project will help maintain, expand, and enhance the Foundation’s virtual museum of rare recordings, interviews, photos, and ephemera documenting America’s diverse roots music traditions. The Arhoolie Foundation’s project is among 1,125 projects across America totaling more than $26.6 million that were selected during this second round of Grants for Arts Projects fiscal year 2022 funding.

“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support arts and cultural organizations throughout the nation with these grants, including the Arhoolie Foundation, providing opportunities for all of us to live artful lives,” said NEA Chair Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD. “The arts contribute to our individual well-being, the well-being of our communities, and to our local economies. The arts are also crucial to helping us make sense of our circumstances from different perspectives as we emerge from the pandemic and plan for a shared new normal informed by our examined experience.”

“American roots music is part of the soul of our country. Sharing information, music, photos and interviews with the tradition leaders from the past and presenting contemporary artists is core to the work of the Arhoolie Foundation,” said John Leopold, Managing Director of the Arhoolie Foundation. “We are grateful for the support from the National Endowment for the Arts.”

 The Arhoolie Foundation’s website ( provides access to the life’s work of founder Chris Strachwitz and his label, Arhoolie Records, which was acquired by Smithsonian Folkways in 2016. The website—a virtual museum—plays a critical role in the Foundation’s mission to keep blues, Cajun, zydeco, gospel, jazz, Tejano/Norteno, old-time, and other tradition-based music styles alive and equitably accessible. Recent additions include a photo gallery of Mance Lipscomb with remembrances from Chris Strachwitz; an unreleased 1981 interview with Ry Cooder; and a concert video hosted by Charlie Musselwhite featuring rare footage form the Arhoolie Archives and new performances in support of the Annual Arhoolie Awards.

For more information on other projects included in the NEA grant announcement, visit

Statement on the passing of Chris Strachwitz

Arhoolie Records Founder
July 1, 1931 – May 5, 2023

We celebrate the life of our founder, friend, and great record man Chris Strachwitz. He died peacefully at home in Marin County, CA, surrounded in his last days by dear friends and family. Over his 91 years, Chris captured the music that represents the best “down home music” the world has to offer.

He was at the forefront of nearly all the roots revivals over the last 60 years including blues, zydeco, Cajun, Norteño and Tejano music. His drive to document traditional music helped introduce the nation to our diverse musical heritage. He had the foresight to save music that might have otherwise been lost to obscurity and played a role in strengthening cultural traditions through his records, films, and most recently the Arhoolie Foundation. He cared for those around him, fought for royalties and recognition for Arhoolie artists, and provided counsel to countless musicians, writers, film makers, and academics.

Plans for a public celebration of his life will be announced in the coming weeks. Today we’re thinking of all that Chris brought to our lives and the lives of the musicians and fans with whom he shared his passion.