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The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Names the Fourth Class of Doris Duke Artists

Twenty Performing Artists Receive $275,000 Each as Recipients of Doris Duke Artist Awards, Resulting in a Total of $22 Million Awarded Among 80 Individuals

The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF) and Creative Capital today announced the 2015 class of Doris Duke Artists. Twenty remarkable performing artists will each receive $275,000 in flexible, multi-year funding as an investment in and celebration of their ongoing contributions to the fields of contemporary dance, theatre and jazz. With this year's class, DDCF will have awarded $22 million among 80 Doris Duke Artists since the inception of the awards program, which is administered in partnership with Creative Capital.

Ben Cameron, program director for the arts at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, said, "We are tremendously proud to announce to the world the fourth class of Doris Duke Artists. This year's class is particularly notable for their collective, strong and consistent commitment to touring and working in multiple communities, enabling them to have enormous impact on artists and audiences in every corner of the country. We are thrilled to recognize the accomplishments of such an influential and talented set of artists, and to make a substantial investment in their ongoing work and well-being as they forge into the future." 

The 2015 Doris Duke Artists are:

Muhal Richard Abrams (Jazz)
Ambrose Akinmusire (Jazz)  
Darcy James Argue (Jazz) 
Camille A. Brown (Dance) 
Ronald K. Brown (Dance) 
Ann Carlson (Dance) 
Nora Chipaumire (Dance) 
Steve Coleman (Jazz) 
Paul S. Flores (Theatre) 
Cynthia Hopkins (Theatre)
Daniel Alexander Jones (Theatre)
Alonzo King (Dance)
Okkyung Lee (Jazz)
Linda Parris-Bailey (Theatre)
Stephen Petronio (Dance)
Mildred Ruiz-Sapp (Theatre)
Steven Sapp (Theatre)
Shawn Sides (Theatre)
Yosvany Terry (Jazz)
Doug Varone (Dance)

Nora Chipaumire, a recipient of the Doris Duke Artist Award in dance, said, "I'm without words for what this recognition means to me. I'm perhaps not too singular in the way that I live from project to project to sustain me and the people who support me. That's always been the reality of arts funding. But, I've always had a larger vision, and I hope this award will help me realize some of it--to extend my good fortune to others and fill a vacuum that exists for students of dance in Africa by creating a center for research."

Muhal Richard Abrams, a recipient of the Doris Duke Artist Award in jazz, said, "This award will give me additional time and facility for expanding and exposing my work to a wide audience. It's energizing when something like this award happens, and it encourages me to keep working hard. The variety of challenges that are inherent in the music are quite stimulating. I'm accessing a world of raw material that's infinite, and the inexhaustibility of it is the challenge."

To learn more about the 2015 Doris Duke Artists and to view samples of each artist's work, visit  


About the Doris Duke Artist Awards

The Doris Duke Artist Awards program is one of two awards offered through the Doris Duke Performing Artist Awards (DDPAA), which is part of a larger $50 million, ten-year commitment of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation to empower, invest in and celebrate artists by offering flexible, multi-year funding in response to financial challenges that are specific to the performing arts and to each artist. Launched in 2011, the awards program supports individual artists in contemporary dance, theatre and jazz. 

Each recipient of a Doris Duke Artist Award receives $275,000--including 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. Artists are able to access their awards over a period of three to five years under a schedule set by each recipient. Creative Capital, DDCF's primary partner in the awards, also offers the awardees the opportunity to participate in professional development activities, financial and legal counseling, and regional gatherings--all designed to help them personalize and maximize the use of their grants. 

Ruby Lerner, founding president and executive director of Creative Capital, said, "It has been a great honor for Creative Capital to administer the Doris Duke Artist Awards program, and we can't wait to start working with the incredible group of 2015 awardees. They will have access to the wide range of tools and resources we've developed to help artists sustain their careers over the long term, including assistance with strategic planning, time management, financial planning, legal advice and much more. We have heard over the years from so many artists that these kinds of resources and training can be as transformative to their careers as direct financial support."

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. By the end of the initiative, 100 artists will have been named Doris Duke Artists.

Additionally, all Doris Duke Artists receive the opportunity to nominate artists who inspire them for the Doris Duke Impact Award, the other awards program offered through DDPAA. Offering grants of $80,000, the Doris Duke Impact Awards are designed to support artists who are not eligible for the Doris Duke Artist Award, either because the artists lack the necessary number of qualifying national awards, grants and prizes, or because their artistic voice is still coming into focus. To date, 100 artists have been awarded Doris Duke Artist Awards and Doris Duke Impact Awards, totaling in $23.6 million funds awarded.

By the end of the ten years, the foundation 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. The Doris Duke Artist Awards and the Doris Duke Impact Awards are announced in classes of approximately twenty between 2012 and 2016, and 2014 and 2018, respectively. More information about the Doris Duke Performing Artist Awards is available at


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