Each year, United States Artists (USA) awards $50,000 fellowships to the country’s
most accomplished and innovative artists working in the fields of Architecture & Design, Crafts, Dance, Literature, Media, Music, Theater & Performance, Traditional Arts and Visual Arts.
Fellows are selected through a rigorous, highly competitive process involving hundreds of experts, scholars, administrators and artists. USA Fellows spotlight the importance of originality across every creative discipline, celebrating the broad diversity of American artistic practices from coast to coast, cultivating a creative ecology that is diverse in age, race, religion, gender, and sexual orientation. United States Artists believes in risk-taking as central to promoting the power of art in American life and creatively impacting the world. The support that USA Fellows receive each year clears the way for unburdened artistic innovation and unleashes creative expression.
Created in 2006 by the Ford, Rockefeller, Rasmuson and Prudential Foundations with $22 million in seed funding, United States Artists was founded to address the lack of unrestricted funding available to artists. Katharine DeShaw, USA's first Executive Director, developed the organization's name, established its first program and staff, and, with the founding donors, recruited the original board of directors. DeShaw worked with Director of Programs, Amada Cruz to develop the USA Fellows Program. USA is currently funded by a broad range of philanthropic foundations and individuals committed to cultivating the vibrant character of contemporary culture in America. Through its signature USA Fellows program, United States Artists has distributed over $21 million in support of almost 450 artists. Past recipients of USA Fellowships include visual artists Glenn Ligon, Kara Walker, Theaster Gates and Catherine Opie; cartoonist Chris Ware; designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy (of Rodarte); performing artist Meredith Monk; jazz composer Jason Moran; ballet dancer and choreographer Benjamin Millepied; choreographer Bill T. Jones; and writers Annie Proulx and Sapphire.