United States Artists Gives $2.5 Million Directly to Artists

54 Artists in Visual, Performing, Media, and Literary Arts
Across the Country Receive $50,000 Awards
Ben Johnson Appointed Director of Programs

Los Angeles, CA, December 3, 2012— Novelist Annie Proulx (Saratoga, WY), sculptor Alison Saar (Los Angeles, CA), legendary jazz musician Jack DeJohnette (Willow, NY), architecture duo Jesse Reiser and Nanako Umemoto (New York, NY), contemporary dance legend Trisha Brown (New York, NY), installation and social practice artist Theaster Gates (Chicago, IL), and playwright and opera librettist David Henry Hwang (New York, NY) are among the 54 remarkable artists to receive one of 50 USA Fellowships from United States Artists (USA), the national grant-making and advocacy organization, which today awarded them unrestricted grants of $50,000 each. Based in 19 states and originally hailing from many more, the 2012 USA Fellows range from 31 to 81 years of age and represent the most innovative and influential artists in their fields. Reflecting the diversity of artistic practice in America, they include cutting-edge thinkers and traditional practitioners from the fields of architecture and design, crafts and traditional arts, dance, literature, media, music, theater arts, and visual arts.

The USA Fellows program has named a total of 371 Fellows from 46 states and Puerto Rico, bringing a vital $17.5 million directly into the hands of these creative leaders. United States Artists has also enabled more than 500 artists to raise over $3 million on USA Projects, a web-based microphilanthropy initiative that launched in 2010.  Since its founding in 2006, United States Artists in total has distributed over $20 million to more than 850 of America’s finest artists.

Including a globetrotting documentary filmmaker from Alabama, Margaret Brown, the founder of a youth music education organization in Kentucky, Edward White, and a pioneer of queer and AIDS-themed dance from California, Keith Hennessy, the USA Fellows for 2012 have been chosen for the caliber and impact of their work. From craft artists who have perfected traditional techniques to pioneering architectural theorists, prominent commentators on the Native-American experience, and contemporary dance innovators, the honorees include: Afro-Latino poet Adrian Castro (Miami, FL); performance artist Coco Fusco (Brooklyn, NY); feature filmmaker Barry Jenkins (Oakland, CA); multi-media Native American artist Nicholas Galanin (Sitka, AK); African-American playwright Adrienne Kennedy (Williamsburg, VA); textile artist Rowland Ricketts (Bloomington, IN); performance artist Guillermo Gomez-Peña (San Francisco, CA); architectural theorist Kate Orff (Forest Hills, NY); Bharatanatyam dancer Ranee Ramaswamy (Minneapolis, MN); poet and playwright Marcus Gardley (New York, NY); visual artist Edgar Heap of Birds (Oklahoma City, OK), whose work addresses the presence of Native Americans in contemporary culture; bluegrass singer and songwriter Claire Lynch (Hermitage, TN); and experimental radio producer Nicholas van der Kolk (San Francisco, CA). The complete list of winners is provided below.

Through a rigorous evaluation process, panels of experts in each artistic discipline selected the 54 winning artists (including four collaboratives) from among 438 nominated applicants living in 50 states and Puerto Rico. USA Fellowships are awarded to artists at all career stages whom demonstrate artistic excellence, unique artistic vision, and significant contributions to their fields.

“The USA Fellows for 2012 are not only incredible artists, they also give back to their communities and engage with the most pressing social issues of our time. We are proud to honor 54 of this country’s greatest living artists and celebrate their extraordinary contributions.” said USA Executive Director Katharine DeShaw. “We are also pleased to introduce our new Director of Programs, Ben Johnson, whose broad expertise in visual art, design, dance, theater, jazz, world music, and contemporary performance continues USA’s commitment to supporting artists in all disciplines.”

“Despite achieving success in their fields, many artists still struggle for resources. USA provides essential support, financial and otherwise, that enables artists to continue to create new work and push the boundaries of their creativity” said Samuel Hoi, USA Board chair and president of Otis College of Art & Design in Los Angeles. “Through the USA Fellows program and the ongoing success of the micro philanthropy initiative USA Projects, which has now raised over $3 million from 20,000 donors for artists’ dream projects, USA is impacting more of America’s finest artists than ever before.”

Ben Johnson joins United States Artists as the Director of Programs.  Previously, Johnson had served as Director of Northrop Concerts and Lectures at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis since August 2008.  In this position, he was also the Curator or Programming and worked with community partners and university departments to develop strategies to integrate and enhance campus and community engagement.  Prior to this position, Johnson was the Director of Education and Audience Development at the University Musical Society (UMS) at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor for 14 seasons.  Johnson received his Bachelor of Arts in theater arts and mass communication and his Master of Arts in arts administration from St. Mary¹s University in Minnesota.  He is a recent graduate of the Shannon Leadership Institute of the Wilder Foundation and the recipient of the MetLife Foundation Award for Arts Access in Underserved Communities.

About United States Artists

United States Artists (USA's) mission is to invest in America's finest artists and illuminate the value of artists to society. Through the USA Fellows program, which annually awards 50 unrestricted grants of $50,000 each to outstanding performing, visual, media, and literary artists across the country, USA has put $17.5 million in the hands of artists in the seven years since its founding. Past recipients of USA Fellowships include visual artists Glenn Ligon, Kara Walker, 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 the writer Sapphire.

USA has extended its mission beyond the successful USA Fellows program with USA Projects, an online community where people can connect with, learn about, and support America’s greatest artists and their next creative breakthroughs. USA Projects is the first microphilanthropy website dedicated exclusively to artists living and working in the United States, where anyone can discover original projects from some of today’s most innovative artists and make tax-deductible donations to support their work. As an initiative of United States Artists, USA Projects uniquely answers the needs of the artist community and provides an active support network and education program for artists.USA Projects also offers artists access to support from its match fund program.  Individual donors, groups, organizations, foundations, and corporations are able to specify criteria and create a match fund to leverage new or additional community support.

Through the USA Fellows program and the expanded reach of USA Projects, USA continues the work of advocating for living artists and providing a community where they can connect with the public and each other. For further information about USA, please visit http://www.unitedstatesartists.org/.

USA Fellows for 2012
Architecture and Design
Marcelo Spina and Georgina Huljich, USA Grigor Fellows, Los Angeles, CA
Stephen Luoni, USA Ford Fellow, Fayetteville, AR
Kate Orff, USA Francie Bishop Good and David Horvitz Fellow, Forest Hills, NY
Jesse Reiser and Nanako Umemoto, USA Booth Fellows, New York, NY

Crafts and Traditional Arts
Nicholas Galanin, USA Rasmuson Fellow, Sitka, AK
Myra Mimlitsch-Gray, USA Glasgow Fellow, Stone Ridge, NY
Leon Niehues, USA Windgate Fellow, Huntsville, AR
Sibylle Peretti, USA Friends Fellow, New Orleans, LA
Rowland Ricketts, USA Friends Fellow, Bloomington, IN
Kurt Weiser, USA Windgate Fellow, Tempe, AZ

Kyle Abraham, USA Ford Fellow, New York, NY
Trisha Brown, USA Simon Fellow, New York, NY
Keith Hennessy, USA Kjenner Fellow, San Francisco, CA
Ranee Ramaswamy, USA Rolón Fellow, Minneapolis, MN
David Thomson, USA Ford Fellow, New York, NY

Adrian Castro, USA Knight Fellow, Miami, FL
Aleksandar Hemon, USA Zell Fellow, Chicago, IL
LeAnne Howe, USA Ford Fellow, Ada, OK
Micheline Aharonian Marcom, USA Rockefeller Fellow, Berkeley, CA
C.E. Morgan, USA Ford Fellow, Berea, KY
Annie Proulx, USA Ford Fellow, Saratoga, WY

Rania Attieh and Daniel Garcia, USA Rockefeller Fellows, New York, NY
Margaret Brown, USA Rockefeller Fellow, Mobile, AL
Lee Isaac Chung, USA Ford Fellow, New York, NY
Jacqueline Goss, USA Rockefeller Fellow, Tivoli, NY
Barry Jenkins, USA Smith Fellow, Oakland, CA
Phil Solomon, USA Knight Fellow, Broomfield, CO
Nick van der Kolk, USA Collins Fellow, Chicago, IL

Jack DeJohnette, USA Ford Fellow, Willow, NY
Colin Jacobsen and Eric Jacobsen, USA Cummings Fellows, Brooklyn, NY
Claire Lynch, USA Walker Fellow, Hermitage, TN
Joanie Madden, USA Friends Fellow, Yonkers, NY
Eugene Rodriguez, USA Oliver Fellow, Richmond, CA
Tony Trischka, USA Friends Fellow, Fairlawn, NJ
Edward White, USA Lowe Fellow, Louisville, KY

Theater Arts
Marcus Gardley, USA James Baldwin Fellow, New York, NY
Guillermo Gomez-Peña, USA Hoi Fellow, San Francisco, CA
David Henry Hwang, USA Donnelley Fellow, New York, NY
John Kelly, USA Gracie Fellow, New York, NY
Adrienne Kennedy, USA Women With Plans Fellow, Williamsburg, VA
Robbie McCauley, USA Ford Fellow, Boston, MA
Annie-B Parson, USA Ford Fellow, New York, NY

Visual Arts
Luis Camnitzer, USA Ford Fellow, Great Neck, NY
Coco Fusco, USA Berman Bloch Fellow, Brooklyn, NY
Theaster Gates, USA Kippy Fellow, Chicago, IL
David Hartt, USA Cruz Fellow, Chicago, IL
Edgar Heap of Birds, USA Ford Fellow, Oklahoma City, OK
William Leavitt, USA Rockefeller Fellow, Los Angeles, CA
Alison Saar, USA Jeanne and Michael Klein Fellow, Fontana, CA
Kerry Tribe, USA Simon Fellow, Los Angeles, CA


For further information or images, please contact: 

Molly Kurzius

Ariel Hudes

Resnicow Schroeder Associates

Resnicow Schroeder Associates

(212) 671-5163

(212) 671-5169