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United States Artists Announces 2021 Fellows

The 2021 USA Fellows class is the largest in the organization's 15-year history.



United States Artists has announced its 2021 USA Fellows. This year, sixty artists across ten creative disciplines will receive unrestricted $50,000 cash awards. The award honors their creative accomplishments and supports their ongoing artistic and professional development. The 2021 USA Fellows class is the largest in the organization's 15-year history. USA Fellowships are awarded to artists at all stages of their careers and from all areas of the country through a rigorous nomination and panel selection process. Fellowships are given in the following disciplines: Architecture & Design, Craft, Dance, Film, Media, Music, Theater & Performance, Traditional Arts, Visual Art, and Writing.

Past awardees include painter and visual artist Howardena Pindell (2020), documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras (2010), writer Teju Cole (2015), potter Roberto Lugo (2016), multimedia artist Paul Chan (2007), dancer and choreographer Alice Sheppard (2019), fashion designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte (2009), filmmaker Barry Jenkins (2012), master Mardi Gras suitmaker Darryl Montana (2014), poet Claudia Rankine (2016), and multidisciplinary artist Martha Rosler (2008).

"We are grateful for every artist whose artmaking, music, writing, and more is helping us to navigate and cope through this harrowing time in our country," said United States Artists President & CEO Deana Haggag. "The 2021 USA Fellows are a testament to the power of art in shaping the world around us and navigating its complexities. Artists do so much for our communities, and we are grateful to be able to support these sixty incredible practitioners and welcome them into the United States Artists fellowship."

The USA Fellowship is the organization's flagship program and is central to its mission of believing in artists and their essential role in our society. In many ways, 2020 has shown the resilience and necessity of that mission, and the organization. As a founding partner of Artist Relief, United States Artists helped to distribute over $20 million in direct funding to nearly 4,000 artists in need. United States Artists also administered the Ford Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation's Disability Futures initiative and is working on similar funds that are planned to be announced this year, as the organization works to deepen and diversify its cultural impact.

"Artists are at the core of their communities, and as the difficulties of the past year have demonstrated, it is more important than ever that we continue to support individual artists," said Ed Henry, USA Board Chair. "And as we continue to meet the challenges 2021 will bring, it is also clear that USA must remain nimble and responsive to the needs of the field, which is why we are honored to be able to support the largest cohort in our history with sixty artists this year."

Edwidge Danticat, a 2020 Writing Fellow, said, "From the beginning of my career, I have always benefited from the generous support of others, be it the use of a family member's house, or advice from older and more experienced writers, or grants and prizes that have gifted me the time to concentrate on my work. Now more than ever, artists need the kind of support offered by United States Artists, not just for continuity and growth, but also for safety and survival."

Since 2006, the USA Fellowship has provided direct support to artists across the country. With this unrestricted award, Fellows decide for themselves how to best use the money-whether it is creating new work, paying rent, reducing debt, getting healthcare, or supporting their families. To make its work possible, United States Artists actively fundraises each year and is supported by a broad range of philanthropic foundations, companies, and individuals committed to cultivating contemporary culture across the country.

The 2020 USA Fellows Are:

Architecture & Design
Jennifer Bonner / MALL
Portland, OR

Walter Hood
Oakland, CA

Olalekan Jeyifous
Brooklyn, NY

Craft
Diedrick Brackens
Los Angeles, CA

Bisa Butler
West Orange, NJ

Amber Cowan
Philadelphia, PA

Salvador Jiménez-Flores
Chicago, IL

Cannupa Hanska Luger
Glorieta, NM

Tiff Massey
Detroit, MI

Erin M. Riley
Brooklyn, NY

Dance
Ishmael Houston-Jones
New York, NY

JanpiStar
Oakland, CA

Emily Johnson
New York, NY

Cynthia Oliver
Urbana, IL

Ni'Ja Whitson
Los Angeles, CA

Film
Faren Humes
Miami, FL

Macha Colón
San Juan, Puerto Rico

Stephen Maing
New York, NY

Darius Clark Monroe
Brooklyn, NY

Naima Ramos-Chapman
Brooklyn, NY

Jennifer Reeder
Chicago, IL and Hammond, IN

Media
Morehshin Allahyari
Brooklyn, NY

Stephanie Dinkins
Brooklyn, NY

Lauren Lee McCarthy
Los Angeles, CA

Mother Cyborg
Detroit, MI

Music
Martha Gonzalez
Los Angeles, CA

Edward "Kidd" Jordan
New Orleans, LA

Tomeka Reid
Chicago, IL

Wadada Leo Smith
New Haven, CT

Mazz Swift
Brooklyn, NY

Theater & Performance
Jibz Cameron
Los Angeles, CA

Carmelita Tropicana
New York, NY

Christopher Chen
San Francisco, CA

Sandra Delgado
Chicago, IL

Idris Goodwin
Colorado Springs, CO

Mia Katigbak
New York, NY

Karen Zacarías
Washington, DC

Traditional Arts
Ofelia Esparza
East Los Angeles, CA

Nathan P Jackson
Ketchikan, AK

Basil Kincaid
St. Louis, MO

Kawika Lum-Nelmida
Honolulu, HI

Carolyn L. Mazloomi
West Chester, OH

Geo Soctomah Neptune
Motahkomikuk, ME

Delina White
Walker, MN

Visual Art
Njideka Akunyili Crosby
Los Angeles, CA

Lex Brown
Philadelphia, PA

rafa esparza
Los Angeles, CA

Maria Gaspar
Chicago, IL

Sharon Hayes
Philadelphia, PA

Carolyn Lazard
Philadelphia, PA

Daniel Lind-Ramos
Loiza, Puerto Rico

Aki Sasamoto
New York, NY

Writing
Alexander Chee
Bradford, VT

Eve L. Ewing
Chicago, IL

Honorée Fanonne Jeffers
Norman, OK

Dunya Mikhail
Sterling Heights, MI

Elizabeth McCracken
Austin, TX

Natalie Y. Moore
Chicago, IL

Danez Smith
Minneapolis, MN

Ocean Vuong
Northampton, MA


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