United States Artists, an arts nonprofit based in Chicago, announced the 2019 winners of its annual fellowship today, which gives unrestricted $50,000 awards to each of 45 American artists across 10 categories, including dance, film, media, traditional arts, visual art, and writing.
As in previous years, it’s a diverse group, running the gamut in terms of age, ethnicity, and location. The six winning visual artists are Juliana Huxtable, Simone Leigh, Wu Tsang, Dyani White Hawk, Firelei Báez, and Cecilia Vicuña. (Leigh was also the recipient of last year’s Hugo Boss prize.)
“There is a lot of interdisciplinary play with this group and we love it!” Deana Haggag, president and CEO of United States Artists, told artnet News. This year’s fellows are “all profoundly mastering their crafts and impacting their fields, while simultaneously pushing the boundaries of their respective genres and experimenting within their disciplines.”
United States Artists was founded in 2006, a joint fundraising organization created by the Ford, Rockefeller, Rasmuson, and Prudential Foundations. Since then, it has given more than $25 million to some 500 American artists with its annual fellowships.
Fellows are nominated anonymously by a rotating group of artists, critics, curators, and other experts in the field, then invited to submit an application. Discipline-specific panels then review the applications and choose winners for each field.
The list of alumni is impressive: previous winners include cartoonist Chris Ware (2006), performance artist Joan Jonas (2009), Moonlight director Barry Jenkins (2012), dancer and choreographer Yvonne Rainer (2016), and writer Fred Moten (2018), among others.
“Since day one, our aim has been to represent the fullness of our collective artistic landscape as well as spotlight the many different practitioners cultivating it,” Haggag says. “Doing this is important to us because it’s honest and accurately reflects the most compelling work being made in our country right now. I would also argue that it’s impossible to wholly consider the magnitude of cultural practice in the United States without looking at each region, every viewpoint and voice, and paying attention to all disciplines and the ways that artists are evolving them.”