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Doris Duke Performing Artist Awards Program Announces 20 Doris Duke Artists

April 29, 2013

The Doris Duke Performing Artist Awards Program, launched in 2011 in partnership with the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF), today announced its second class of awardees, recognizing 20 of America’s most vital artists working in the fields of contemporary dance, jazz and theatre.

The Doris Duke Artist Awards aim to empower, invest in and celebrate artists by offering flexible, multi-year funding in response to financial and funding challenges that are both unique to the performing arts and to each artist. To that end, each member of the 2013 class will receive an unrestricted, multi-year cash grant of $225,000, plus as much as $25,000 more in targeted support for audience development and as much as $25,000 more for personal reserves or creative exploration during what are usually retirement years for most Americans. Creative Capital, which is proud to serve as DDCF’s primary partner in the Doris Duke Performing Artist Awards, will also offer the awardees the opportunity to participate in professional development activities, financial and legal counseling, and grantee gatherings—all designed to help them personalize and maximize the use of their grants.

The 2013 Doris Duke Artists are:
Anthony Braxton (Middletown, CT)
Billy Childs (Los Angeles, CA)
Ping Chong (New York, NY)
Kelly Copper (New York, NY)
Lisa D’Amour (New Orleans, LA and New York, NY)
DD Dorvillier (New York, NY and Paris, France)
Amir ElSaffar (New York, NY)
David Gordon (New York, NY)
Pat Graney (Seattle, WA)
Stacy Klein (Ashfield, MA)
David Lang (New York, NY)
Pavol Liska (New York, NY)
Rudresh Mahanthappa (Montclair, NJ)
John Malpede (Los Angeles, CA)
Miya Masaoka (Berkeley, CA and New York, NY)
Myra Melford (Berkeley, CA)
Tere O’Connor (Champaign, IL and New York, NY)
William Parker (New York, NY)
Elizabeth Streb (Brooklyn, NY)
Jawole Willa Jo Zollar (Tallahassee, FL and Brooklyn, NY)

Recognizing that talent and the ability to innovate are not restricted to artists of any age, the members of the 2013 class of Doris Duke Artists span from their mid-thirties to their early seventies. Among the class are artists who work to make performing arts accessible to untraditional or marginalized audiences, innovators who push and reinvent the boundaries of their fields, creators who integrate cross-cultural influences into their work, and masters who dive deep into the rich tradition of their forms—and more.

Ruby Lerner, Creative Capital’s President & Executive Director, added, “We cannot wait to begin working with this phenomenal group of artists. It’s an honor for us to partner with DDCF in this truly life-changing award program, which will impact not only the awardees, but also their many collaborators and the countless audience members whose lives will be enriched by their artistic work.”

To qualify for consideration by the review panels, all the Doris Duke Artists must have won grants, prizes or awards on a national level for at least three different projects over the past ten years, with at least one project having received support from a DDCF-funded program. The panel chose the artists based on demonstrated evidence of exceptional creativity, ongoing self-challenge and the continuing potential to make significant contributions to the fields of jazz, contemporary dance and theatre in the future.  

DDCF is granting these awards as part of a larger $50 million, ten-year commitment over and above its existing funding for the performing arts. The first 21 Doris Duke Artists were announced in April 2012 and are already making use of their awards in a myriad of exciting ways: Several are using a portion of the award toward creative research by traveling abroad to learn new art forms, studying fields such as neuroscience, or learning new skills such as new instruments, music notation, foreign languages, filmmaking, poetry writing and painting, that could inform and fuel their future art. Others are creating archives of their work and hiring needed support staff for their projects. Many are using the awards toward creating greater personal financial stability and to fulfill life needs, such as health insurance, life insurance and emergency funds. The majority of the artists are taking advantage of the funds devoted to giving them options during the years in which most Americans retire, and some have made their very first contributions ever to retirement vehicles. Most are also pursuing the funds devoted to audience development activities to expand or deepen the base of people who consume or have access to their work through both digital and traditional tools.

Young Jean Lee, a 2012 recipient of the Doris Duke Artist Award, stated: “When I received the grant, I was at a point in my career when I was nearing burnout because the work pace had been so unrelenting and the financial payoff so little, to the point where it didn’t feel sustainable.  What this award is giving me—in a crucial period—is five more years to build my body of work and to see how far I can go with it. And, it just completely took away that question of, ‘Can you be an artist?’”

By the end of the ten years, DDCF will have offered a total of at least 200 artists greatly expanded freedom to create, through an initiative that makes available the largest allocation of unrestricted cash grants ever given to individuals in contemporary dance, jazz and theatre. Provided to honorees through a rigorous, anonymous process of peer review—no applications are accepted—the grants are not tied to any specific project but are made as investments in the artists’ personal and professional development and future work.

DDCF will eventually name a total of at least 100 Doris Duke Artists. DDCF will also offer Doris Duke Impact Awards to at least 100 jazz, theatre, contemporary dance and multidisciplinary artists, selected through an anonymous peer-review process for their demonstrated potential to influence their fields. The Doris Duke Artist Awards and the Doris Duke Impact Awards will be announced in classes of approximately twenty between 2012 and 2016, and 2014 and 2018, respectively.

More information about the Doris Duke Performing Artist Awards and the 2013 Doris Duke Artists is available at

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