News & Stories

Program News: Doris Duke Performing Artist Awards Announces Inaugural Class

April 19, 2012

Doris Duke Performing Artist AwardsThe Doris Duke Performing Artist Awards, a new program launched in 2011 as a partnership between Creative Capital and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, today announced its first class of Doris Duke Artists, 21 extraordinary performing artists, encompassing some of the most creative talents in the fields of contemporary dance, theater, jazz and related interdisciplinary work. Creative Capital oversees the program and will also work with artists to realize and maximize the use of their awards.

“We are thrilled with the inaugural class of Doris Duke Artists and are inspired by all they have already accomplished and all they will continue to contribute to the field,” said Ben Cameron, Program Director for the Arts, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. “We believe that all artists deserve lives of economic dignity and hope the Doris Duke Performing Artist Awards program will inspire a broader dialogue about the existing systems of support for artists and encourage others to explore new ways to provide support to performing artists. And there is no better partner than Creative Capital to help us build this new program and provide innovative, multifaceted support to artists.”

“Creative Capital is honored to partner with Doris Duke Charitable Foundation on this extraordinary new program,” said Ruby Lerner, President & Executive Director of Creative Capital. “The Awards are an expansion of the more than decade-long relationship between Creative Capital and DDCF, and we are so pleased to be part of this initiative, which offers unprecedented support to the field and will enrich the careers of these visionary artists and the audiences they reach.”

The Doris Duke Performing Artist Awards program is designed to invest in, celebrate and empower performing artists using a flexible approach that offers significant funding—up to $275,000 per artist—that is not tied to individual projects and instead is available for extended professional and artistic development, audience development and retirement planning. This structure allows for long-term exploration and research needs unmet by traditional project support, from travel and study to health insurance and debt retirement. Access to financial planning and other career development services will also be available to artists, to help them build stronger foundations for their practices that will endure beyond the funding period.

“The incredible caliber of artists included in this first class of Doris Duke Artists reminds us all of the power and reach of the performing arts,” added Rachel Ford, Program Director for the Doris Duke Performing Artists Awards. “These artists have thrilled and challenged and moved audiences throughout their careers. It will be our great honor and pleasure to work with this group to help them leverage and expand the potential impact of this Award.”

Artists are selected from a pool of artists who have won at least three designated national grants, awards, accolades or fellowships over the past ten years, with at least one having been funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF), including the Creative Capital Performing Arts Grant. By using repeated recognition in the non-profit sphere as a key criterion for the selection of Doris Duke Artists, the program recognizes the value of artistic exploration and collaboration and its potential to enrich the cultural and social fabric of our communities. The program acknowledges the challenge that the project-to-project grantmaking treadmill creates for artists, and rather than add yet another grant to apply for, relies on eligibility and peer review panel process.

The 2012 class of Doris Duke Artist Awards was selected from an eligibility pool of nearly 175 artists by a peer panel comprised of distinguished arts professionals from across the country. Panelists were asked to assess the maturity of the artist’s voice, the potential impact of the award and the ongoing sense of self-challenge that these artists exemplify. Eighteen of the 2012 class are Creative Capital Performing Arts and/or MAP Fund grantees, from playwright Young Jean Lee to jazz artist Vijay Iyer.

About the Partnership
DDCF has been a major supporter to Creative Capital’s core grantmaking program since 2000, and has been the largest single funder of all our classes of Performing Arts grantees. DDCF is also the lead funder of the MAP Fund, also an ancillary program of Creative Capital, and the combined support of these programs signals a deep and unprecedented commitment to the field.

DDCF selected Creative Capital as a partner to this program because of the organization’s pioneering systemfor support of artists that combines funding, counsel and career development services to help individual artists build more sustainable practices. Creative Capital worked with DDCF to help shape the program and provides all oversight for program operations. All awardees will also have the opportunity to take part in a range of career development services offered by Creative Capital, such as strategic planning and goals assessment, financial and legal counseling, and networking opportunities. These include workshops to help artists expand their skills and practices (from strategic planning to fundraising to promotion); phone-in clinics that offer support for the business areas of artistic practices (legal, financial, tech, PR and business advice); memberships that provide opportunities for crowdfunding and fiscal sponsorship partners, as well as discounted rates for insurance or health care. Read more about the partnership on Creative Capital’s blog, The Lab.

The Awards program is fully funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, as part of the Doris Duke Performing Artists Initiative. Read more news from DDCF about this new program here.

About Creative Capital
Creative Capital is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to providing integrated financial and advisory support to artists pursuing adventurous projects in five disciplines: Emerging Fields, Film/Video, Literature, Performing Arts and Visual Arts. Working in long-term partnership with artists, Creative Capital's pioneering approach to support combines funding, counsel and career development services to enable a project's success and foster sustainable practices for its grantees. Since its founding in 1999, Creative Capital has committed nearly $25 million in financial and advisory support to 372 projects representing 463 artists, and its Professional Development Program has reached more than 4,000 artists in 50 communities across the country.

Creative Capital's core program receives support from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Toby Devan Lewis, Robert W. Deutsch Foundation, Lambent Foundation Fund of Tides Foundation, The Nathan Cummings Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Booth Ferris Foundation, William K. Bowes, Jr. Foundation, Muriel Pollia Foundation, Catharine & Jeffrey Soros, Paige West, Cordish Family Foundation, Sylvia Golden, Rappaport Family Foundation, Stephen Reily & Emily Bingham, and more than 150 other institutional and individual donors. Additional support for the Professional Development Program is provided by Kresge Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, and John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation has served as a major funder to Creative Capital’s core Performing Arts program since 2000. Additionally, DDCF is the principal supporter for its ancillary program, the MAP Fund, and is also the sole, major funder of the Doris Duke Performing Artist Awards program.

About the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
The mission of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation is to improve the quality of people’s lives through grants supporting the performing arts, environmental conservation, medical research and the prevention of child abuse, and through preservation of the cultural and environmental legacy of Doris Duke’s properties. Established in 1996, the Foundation supports four national grantmaking programs. It also supports three properties that were owned by Doris Duke—in Hillsborough, New Jersey; Honolulu, Hawaii; and Newport, Rhode Island—all of which are open to the public. The Foundation awarded its first grants in 1997. To date, the Foundation has awarded grants totaling more than $1 billion. For more information, please visit

Given the guidance provided by Doris Duke’s will and her interests during her life, the Foundation’s Arts Program focuses its support on contemporary dance, jazz and theatre artists, and the organizations that nurture, present and produce them. As of December 31, 2011, the Arts Program had approved approximately 255 grants totaling approximately $224 million.

Read more about the development of the new Doris Duke Performing Artist Awards program here.

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