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Tallahassee Artist Named Today as USA Fellow - To Receive $50,000 Grant for Artistic Excellence

News Release:

Artists in Design, Literary, Media, Performing, and Visual Arts
From Across the Country Each Receive $50,000 Award

Winners Honored in Celebration at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago on November 10;

2008 Marks Third Year of USA Fellowships and $7.5 Million Awarded to Artists Nationwide

CHICAGO, IL, November 10, 2008—United States Artists (USA), the national artists’ advocacy organization, today announced the recipients of fifty USA Fellowships for 2008 totaling $2.5 million. This marks the third consecutive year of the USA Fellows program, which provides direct support for artists by annually awarding fifty unrestricted grants of $50,000 to artists of all disciplines from across the country. The USA Fellows for 2008 hail from 21 states and range in age from 31 to 82; they were chosen by panels of experts in each field in recognition of the caliber and impact of their work. The artists will be honored tonight, November 10, in a celebration at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) in Chicago.

The USA Fellowships for 2008 include five in Architecture and Design; four in Crafts and Traditional Arts; five in Dance; nine in Literature (fiction, nonfiction, and poetry); six in Media (film and video); six in Music; five in Theater Arts; and 10 in Visual Arts. The complete list of winners is provided below. Through a rigorous evaluation process, panels of experts in the arts selected the 51 winning artists (including one collaborative pair) from among 362 nominated applicants from 44 states. USA Fellowships are awarded to artists who demonstrate artistic excellence, unique artistic vision, and significant contributions to their fields. The program honors artists at all stages of their careers, from emerging to mid-career to established figures in their fields.

The USA Fellows for 2008 represent a diverse spectrum of cultural, ethnic, and geographic perspectives. Their influences range from Pre-Raphaelite painting to hip-hop music and their creative works include ancient traditions to the newest experimental forms. This year’s honorees include free-jazz pioneer Muhal Richard Abrams (New York); conceptual artist Michael Asher (Los Angeles); musician and Chinese pipa virtuoso Wu Man (San Diego); playwright and hip-hop theater performer Will Power (New York); installation artist Kara Walker (New York); experimental architect Douglas Garofalo (Chicago); traditional sweetgrass basket weaver Mary Jackson (Johns Island, South Carolina); legendary tap dancer Dianne Walker (Boston); Faulkner Award-winning novelist and short story writer Barry Hannah (Oxford, Mississippi); and independent filmmaker William Greaves (New York), known as “the dean of African American film.”

“Artists drive our nation’s cultural life and give voice to who we are and where we’re headed,” said Susan V. Berresford, USA board chair and former president of the Ford Foundation. “Many of this country’s two million artists struggle to make ends meet and, particularly in this challenging economic climate, it is essential to invest in our nation’s finest creative voices.”

“In just three years, USA has introduced a solution to the lack of funding for artists and awarded $7.5 million across all disciplines,” added USA Executive Director Katharine DeShaw. “USA was founded on the belief that artists play a vital role in society—they encourage learning, stimulate dialogue, and inspire new ideas and free expression—and we are extremely proud to honor 51 of our nation’s best with USA Fellowships.”

Leaders in the arts community, patrons, and many USA Fellows from past years will join the 2008 winners at a gala tonight at the MCA, Chicago. The 2008 celebration event will feature special performances by USA Fellows Michael Doucet (musician, Lafayette, Louisiana), Forrest Gander (poet, Barrington, RI), Joy Harjo (poet, Honolulu), Robert Cazimero (musician and composer, Honolulu), Wu Man (musician, San Diego), Rosalba Rolón (theater artist, Bronx) and Dianne Walker (tap dancer, Boston), along with actor and artist Leonard Nimoy. The event is generously underwritten by Target and The Prudential Foundation and Marilyn and Larry Fields.

The founding of the Los Angeles-based USA in 2005 was prompted by the Urban Institute’s breakthrough study, Investing in Creativity: A Study of the Support Structures for U.S. Artists, which found that while 96% of Americans appreciate the arts, only 27% believe that artists contribute to the good of society. In addition, the study discovered that the median reported income for artists from their artistic work was only $5,000 and that more than half of America’s two million artists pay for their own health insurance.

In response to those findings, the Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Prudential Foundation, and Rasmuson Foundation contributed a total of $20 million to establish USA as a structure through which private philanthropists, corporate donors, and other foundations can support individual artists. Due to seed funding from its founders, 100% of current donor contributions directly support artists. USA supporters who have underwritten named USA Fellowships include Michael Bloomberg, Eli and Edythe Broad, Ella Fontanals-Cisneros, Shawn M. Donnelley, Agnes Gund, Target, and the Wynn Family Foundation, among others.

USA Fellows for 2008

Architecture and Design
Julie Bargmann, USA Target Fellow, Charlottesville, Virginia
Stephen Burks, USA Target Fellow, New York, New York
Douglas Garofalo, USA Target Fellow, Chicago, Illinois
J. Meejin Yoon, USA Target Fellow, Boston, Massachusetts
Andrew Zago, USA Target Fellow, Detroit, Michigan

Crafts and Traditional Arts
Alvin Aningayou, USA Rasmuson Fellow, Gambell, Alaska
Mary Jackson, USA Donnelley Fellow, Johns Island, South Carolina
Richard Notkin, USA Hoi Fellow, Helena, Montana
Judith Schaechter, USA Rockefeller Fellow, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Dance
Ann Carlson, USA Prudential Fellow, Boston, Massachusetts
Joe Goode, USA Glover Fellow, Berkeley, California
Pat Graney, USA Rasmuson Fellow, Seattle, Washington
Dianne Walker, USA Rose Fellow, Mattapan (Boston), Massachusetts
Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, USA Wynn Fellow, Tallahassee, Florida, and New York, New York

Literature
Jeff Chang, USA Ford Fellow, Berkeley, California
Forrest Gander, USA Rockefeller Fellow, Barrington, Rhode Island
Barry Hannah, USA Ford Fellow, Oxford, Mississippi
Joy Harjo, USA Rasmuson Fellow, Honolulu, Hawaii
Tayari Jones, USA Collins Fellow, Atlanta, Georgia
A. Van Jordan, USA Williams Fellow, Austin, Texas
Laura Kasischke, USA Cummings Fellow, Chelsea, Michigan
Lê Thi Diem Thúy, USA Ford Fellow, Northampton, Massachusetts
Harryette Mullen, USA Broad Fellow, Los Angeles, California

Media
Cary Joji Fukunaga, USA Rockefeller Fellow, Brooklyn, New York
William Greaves, USA Rockefeller Fellow, New York, New York
Andrew Okpeaha MacLean, USA Rasmuson Fellow, Anchorage, Alaska
Lourdes Portillo, USA Rockefeller Fellow, San Francisco, California
Jay Rosenblatt, USA Rasmuson Fellow, San Francisco, California
Ela Troyano, USA Rockefeller Fellow, New York, New York

Music
Muhal Richard Abrams, USA Prudential Fellow, New York, New York
Robert Cazimero, USA Ford Fellow, Honolulu, Hawaii
Chris Jonas and Molly Sturges, USA Simon Fellows, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Stephen Scott, USA Simon Fellow, Colorado Springs, Colorado
Henry Threadgill, USA Prudential Fellow, New York, New York
Wu Man, USA Broad Fellow, Carlsbad (San Diego), CA

Theater Arts
Karen Kandel, USA Ziporyn Fellow, New York, New York
Will Power, USA Prudential Fellow, New York, New York
Bill Rauch, USA Prudential Fellow, Ashland, Oregon
Rosalba Rolón, USA Fontanals Fellow, Bronx, New York
Jennifer Tipton, USA Gracie Fellow, New York, New York

Visual Arts
Terry Adkins, USA James Baldwin Fellow, Brooklyn, New York
Michael Asher, USA Broad Fellow, Los Angeles, California
Andrea Bowers, USA Broad Fellow, Los Angeles, California
Deanna Dikeman, USA Booth Fellow, Columbia, Missouri
Barkley L. Hendricks, USA Ford Fellow, New London, Connecticut
Tehching Hsieh, USA Hoi Fellow, Brooklyn, New York
Rodney McMillian, USA Broad Fellow, Los Angeles, California
Martha Rosler, USA Nimoy Fellow, Brooklyn, New York
Catherine Sullivan, USA Walker Fellow, Chicago, Illinois
Kara Walker, USA Eileen Harris Norton Fellow, New York, New York


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