Mark Puryear is recognized for curating public cultural programs for the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. He most recently co-curated Freedom Sounds: A Community Celebration, a three day celebration of the 2016 of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History Culture’s grand opening. He was nominated for a 2015 Grammy for Best Historical Recording for “Fannie Lou Hamer: Songs My mother Taught Me.” Puryear managed the National Endowment for Arts, National Heritage Fellowships from 1996 – 2006. Puryear holds an MA in ethnomusicology from the University of Maryland. His teaching experience includes the University of Maryland, Bowie State University, Montgomery College, Howard University and Community College of Micronesia.