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United States Artists Announces 50 USA Fellowships for 2009
Beth Lo, "Harmony and Anthem", 2008. Porcelain and mixed media, 20" H: Photo: Courtesy: Chris Autio.

LOS ANGELES, CA.- United States Artists (USA), the national grant-making and advocacy organization, announced the recipients of 50 USA Fellowships for 2009, totaling $2.5 million, at a celebration at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica. This event marks the fourth consecutive year of the USA Fellows program, which annually awards fifty unrestricted grants of $50,000 to artists of all disciplines from across the country. The USA Fellows for 2009 hail from 18 states and range in age from 28 to 82. Chosen for the caliber and impact of their work, they include contemporary experimenters and traditional practitioners—Pueblo potters, feminist performance pioneers, cutting-edge fashion designers, independent radio artists, and folk musicians, among others.

The evening also paid tribute to Eli and Edythe Broad for their leadership in and generosity to the arts in Los Angeles and nationwide. When USA launched in 2006, the Broads were the first to support the USA Fellows Program with a $1 million contribution from the Broad Art Foundation. In total, they have underwritten 20 USA Broad Fellows, including five announced last night. The Broad’s early generosity has helped to catalyze additional support for United States Artists, which has opened a new channel in arts philanthropy through which individuals, corporate donors, and foundations can provide direct support to working artists.

At yesterday’s event, USA also celebrated a $1 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, based in Miami, to support USA Knight Fellowships for artists who live in the 26 cities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers.

The USA Fellows for 2009 represent a diverse spectrum of cultural, stylistic, and geographic perspectives. The honorees include sculptor Diana Al-Hadid (Brooklyn, NY); Cuban-born playwright and theater director Nilo Cruz (New York, NY); hula master Hokulani Holt-Padilla (Wailuku, HI); poet and novelist Sapphire (Brooklyn, NY), whose novel, Push (1996), was made into the recent film, 'Precious'; artist Rick Lowe (Houston, TX), founder of Project Row Houses in Houston’s Third Ward; sisters and designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy (Pasadena, CA), creators of the breakthrough fashion label 'Rodarte'; playwright, actor, and stage director John O’Neal (New Orleans, LA), founder of the famed Civil Rights-era Free Southern Theater; Mary Shaffer (Taos, NM), one of the founding artists of the American Studio Glass movement; prolific composer and jazz trumpeter Hannibal Lokumbe (Bastrop, TX); Ella Jenkins (Chicago, IL), known as “the first lady of children’s music”; performance art pioneer and MIT professor Joan Jonas (New York, NY); actor and playwright Anna Deavere Smith (New York, NY); independent radio producer Scott Carrier (Salt Lake City, UT); and documentary filmmaker Heather Courtney (Austin, TX), whose forthcoming project follows a group of 20-year-olds from her hometown in northern Michigan before, during, and after their National Guard service in Afghanistan.

Through a rigorous evaluation process, panels of experts in the arts selected the 55 winning artists (including five collaborative pairs) from among 348 nominated applicants from 45 states. USA Fellowships are awarded to artists of all career stages who demonstrate artistic excellence, unique artistic vision, and significant contributions to their fields.

“Artists fuel the nation’s cultural vitality and illuminate the issues and complexities of our time,” said Susan V. Berresford, USA board chair and former president of the Ford Foundation. “Yet many of our country’s finest artists struggle to make ends meet. Now more than ever, we need a resource like United States Artists to invest in working artists and promote their contributions to society.”

“In just four years, United States Artists has awarded $10 million to 213 artists across the country,” added USA Executive Director Katharine DeShaw. “These creative individuals are in turn contributing to their communities and producing art that inspires, provokes, and informs global audiences. We are extremely proud to honor 55 of our nation’s best with USA Fellowships and, with this honor, provide essential funding so they can continue to develop exceptional work.”

USA’s five-year grant from the Knight Foundation will support two USA Knight Fellows being named tonight: ceramicist Kukuli Velarde, who lives in Philadelphia and choreographer Sophiline Cheam Shapiro, based in Long Beach, California. In addition to their $50,000 grants from USA, these and future USA Knight Fellows will receive $5,000 to conduct projects that engage residents in their communities.

“Kukuli and Sophiline represent this nation’s vast creative talent. We look forward to seeing how they and future USA Knight Fellows enrich their communities, their disciplines, and our national appreciation for the arts,” said Dennis Scholl, Knight Foundation program director.

USA Fellows for 2009

Architecture and Design

Neil Denari, USA California Community Foundation Fellow, Los Angeles, California
Laura Kurgan, USA Rockefeller Fellow, New York, New York
Rick Lowe, USA Booth Fellow, Houston, Texas
Kate Mulleavy and Laura Mulleavy, USA Target Fellows, Pasadena, California

Crafts and Traditional Arts
Perry Eaton, USA Rasmuson Fellow, Anchorage, Alaska
Delores Lewis Garcia and Emma Lewis Mitchell, USA Gift of Art Fellows, San Fidel, New Mexico
Beth Lo , USA Hoi Fellow, Missoula, Montana
Dona Look, USA Windgate Fellow, Algoma, Wisconsin
Mary Shaffer, USA Simon Fellow, Taos, New Mexico
Kukuli Velarde, USA Knight Fellow, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Sophiline Cheam Shapiro, USA Knight Fellow, Long Beach, California
Lin Hixson and Matthew Goulish, USA Ziporyn Fellows, Chicago, Illinois
Hokulani Holt-Padilla, USA Ford Fellow, Wailuku, Hawaii
Tere O'Connor, USA Rockefeller Fellow, New York, New York
Reggie Wilson, USA Prudential Fellow, Brooklyn, New York

Ai, USA Ford Fellow, Stillwater, Oklahoma
Nilo Cruz, USA Fontanals Fellow, New York, New York
Gilbert Hernandez, USA Rasmuson Fellow, Las Vegas, Nevada
Antonya Nelson, USA Simon Fellow, Las Cruces, New Mexico
Sapphire, USA Prudential Fellow, Brooklyn, New York
Justin Torres, USA Rolón Fellow, Iowa City, Iowa
Brian Turner, USA Hillcrest Fellow, Fresno, California
Kevin Young, USA James Baldwin Fellow, Belmont, Massachusetts

Cruz Angeles, USA Simon Fellow, New York, New York
Charles Burnett, USA Broad Fellow, Los Angeles, California
Scott Carrier, USA Rasmuson Fellow, Salt Lake City, Utah
Heather Courtney, USA Ford Fellow, Austin, Texas
Elizabeth Meister and Dan Collison, USA Donnelley Fellows, Three Oaks, Michigan
Renée Tajima-Peña, USA Broad Fellow, Los Angeles, California

Rahim AlHaj, USA Ford Fellow, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Cyro Baptista, USA Walker Fellow, Tenafly, New Jersey
Ella Jenkins, USA Collins Fellow, Chicago, Illinois
Danongan Kalanduyan, USA Broad Fellow, San Francisco, California
Hannibal Lokumbe, USA Cummings Fellow, Bastrop, Texas
Lionel Loueke, USA Prudential Fellow, North Bergen, New Jersey
Daniel Plonsey, USA Broad Fellow, El Cerrito, California

Theater Arts
Dan Hurlin, USA Prudential Fellow, New York, New York
Ruth Maleczech, USA Gracie Fellow, New York, New York
John O'Neal, USA Prudential Fellow, New Orleans, Louisiana
Anna Deavere Smith, USA Berresford Fellow, New York, New York

Visual Arts
Diana Al-Hadid, USA Rockefeller Fellow, Brooklyn, New York
Terry Allen, USA Oliver Fellow, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Vija Celmins, USA Broad Fellow, New York, New York
Anthony Hernandez, USA Hillcrest Fellow, Los Angeles, California
Joan Jonas, USA Friends Fellow, New York, New York
Kim Jones, USA Rockefeller Fellow, New York, New York
Martin Mazorra and Michael Houston, USA Ford Fellows, Brooklyn, New York
Dave McKenzie, USA Rockefeller Fellow, Brooklyn, New York
Judy Pfaff, USA Rasmuson Fellow, Kingston, New York
Dario Robleto, USA Rasmuson Fellow, Houston, Texas

United States Artists | Eli and Edythe Broad | USA Fellowships for 2009 |

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