Cherice Harrison-Nelson
Ceremonial Dress Artist
New Orleans, LA
2016 USA Fellow

This award was generously made possible by Anonymous.

Cherice Harrison-Nelson is steeped in a West African rooted ceremonial dress art tradition, unique to African American communities in New Orleans. She is the third of five generations in her family to participate in the cultural legacy passed down from her late father, Big Chief Donald Harrison, Sr. She is the co-founder and curator of the Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame. Currently, the organization is working to protect intellectual property rights through the, “You Get Paid, I Get Paid” mutual respect and fair use campaign. The Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame has published four books and curated numerous exhibitions. She has served as a visiting scholar at Newcomb College Institute of Tulane and is the recipient of numerous honors including a Fulbright scholarship to Ghana and Senegal. Her original creations are held in the private collections of Jonathan Demme (Academy award-winning director – Silence of the Lambs), Wole Soyinka (first African Nobel Prize Laureate for literature) among others. Her production credits include: DVD documentaries, a music CD, three original plays, and the award winning narrative film, “Keeper of the Flame.” She holds a MA in education from Xavier University.

Portrait photo courtesy the artist. 

  • Photo courtesy artist.
  • Photo courtesy artist.