United States Artists Announces Kristy Edmunds As The Inaugural Berresford Prize Recipient
United States Artists (USA) has announced the founding of the Berresford Prize, a new annual award that honors cultural practitioners who have contributed significantly to the advancement, wellbeing, and care of artists in society.
The Berresford Prize is named for Susan V. Berresford, former President of the Ford Foundation, who co-founded USA and is still an active Trustee. The award was conceived of by several USA Fellows in response to the lack of acknowledgment for those who have dedicated their careers to the betterment of artists. Introduced in 2019, the unrestricted $25,000 prize reinforces USA's commitment to artists by acknowledging the remarkable administrators, curators, scholars, and producers who are building platforms and creating conditions for artists to thrive.
"At USA, we are thrilled to expand our awards program to include and honor those in the cultural vanguard who support artists every day," said United States Artists Board Chair Steven H. Oliver. "While conceiving the prize, it was obvious to everyone involved to name it after our founder Susan V. Berresford who has worked tirelessly to ensure that artists are valued and recognized for their work at this organization and beyond. With her spirit in mind, we are privileged to establish the Berresford Prize, shedding light on all those who dedicate themselves to the advancement of artists across the country."
"We are so moved by the artists who advocated for us to launch this prize and are grateful to be able to provide this opportunity to the field. At USA, we know firsthand how many incredible practitioners make up our cultural ecosystem, " said United States Artists President & CEO Deana Haggag. "Their work as administrators and producers ranges from curating to criticism, working independently and within institutions, as well as founding the countless projects and platforms needed for artists to bring their work to the world. Whatever their practice, the recipient of the Berresford Prize will always be someone who has advocated fiercely for artists starting with the inimitable Kristy Edmunds."
The inaugural Berresford Prize awardee is Kristy Edmunds, the Executive and Artistic Director of UCLA'S Center for the Art of Performance (CAP UCLA). Previously, she was the Founding Executive and Artistic Director of the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA) in Portland, Oregon, and inaugural Consulting Artistic Director for the Park Avenue Armory in New York (2009-2012). Selected by an internal nomination and review process, Edmunds has a long-established career as a thoughtful and groundbreaking cultural producer and advocate for artists.
"Art doesn't just occur on its own-it's made, shared, and recognized because spaces and conditions are created for it to happen," said United States Artists Trustee and 2007 Fellow Ann Hamilton. "Kristy is one of those condition makers whose visionary leadership and sensibility has helped so many artists make their work possible. She has dedicated a career to building radically nimble structures that support artistic processes, and invite the artist, presenter, and audience to move beyond the familiar and risk the unknowable."
"I was astonished in every sense of the word to learn that I was being named the inaugural Berresford Prize awardee and continue to be," said 2019 Berresford Prize recipient Kristy Edmunds. "The fact that this award was initiated by artists and named after a woman who is held in such high esteem makes the honor a truly staggering one. I now know how acutely humbling it is to experience that your life's work has been seen-and not only through the lens of where you work, but perhaps from how you do the work."
"I am deeply humbled to have this award named in my honor," said United States Artists Co-founder and Trustee Susan V. Berresford. "At USA, we champion all those who root for artists and are delighted to be able to provide this much-needed support and recognition. We are proud to name Kristy Edmunds the inaugural recipient and appreciate all that she's done for artists across the country."