United States Artists

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United States Artists
United States Artists logo
Founded 2005
Type Philanthropic arts organization
Focus American artists
  • Chicago, USA
Area served
United States
Method Awards unrestricted grants of $50,000 to 50 artists per annum[1]
Key people
Deana Haggag, CEO[2]
Endowment Initial seed funding of (US) $22.6M[3] provided by Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Prudential Foundation, and Rasmuson Foundation[4]
Website http://unitedstatesartists.org

United States Artists (USA) is an independent nonprofit and nongovernmental philanthropic organization based in Chicago and dedicated to supporting the work of living American artists by the granting of cash awards, called USA Fellowships.[5] It was founded in 2005 with initial funding from the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, The Prudential Foundation, and the Rasmuson Foundation, and the first set of 50 fellowships were announced in 2006.[6] The organization is governed by a Board of Directors and receives additional funding from several major American foundations, corporate partners, and private citizens.


The organization's stated mission is "to invest in America's finest artists and illuminate the value of artists to society."[7] In addition, the organization asserts that "USA Fellowships honor and award an artist’s unique vision as a whole rather than funding a particular project. Artists at different career levels, from emerging to established, are eligible."[8]

Selection process[edit]

Prerequisites for consideration include that the artist be 21 or older, a US citizen or legal resident. In addition, nominees must be accomplished artists, must have acquired art training, formal or informal, must have tried to derive income from those skills, and must have been "actively engaged in creating artwork and presenting it to the public." To be considered for a grant, an artist must first be nominated by at least one of a group of "nominators" chosen by the organization. This is an anonymous group of arts scholars, critics, and artists from various disciplines; they operate independently of one another. The nominators submit names of artists they believe should be considered for an award.[9]

Once nominated artists have been notified of their nomination, they are then directed to apply for the grant in order to be considered. The awards are announced once a year. The Fellows announcement is made in December of each year.[10]


Grants are awarded annually to artists working in nine disciplines:

USA Fellows[edit]


Architecture and Design: Architects and educators Marcelo Spina and Georgina Huljich, architecture educator Stephen Luoni, landscape architect and educator Kate Orff, and architects Jesse Reiser and Nanako Umemoto.

Crafts and Traditional Arts: Alaska artist Nicholas Galanin, educator and jeweler Myra Mimlitsch-Gray, Arkansas basketmaker Leon Niehues, glass artist Sibylle Peretti, educator and textile artist Rowland Ricketts, and educator and ceramics artist Kurt Weiser.

Dance: Choreographer Kyle Abraham, choreographer and dancer Trisha Brown, dancer Renee Ramaswamy, choreographer David Thomson, and dancer and choreographer Keith Hennessy.

Literature: Poet, writer, and interdisciplinary artist Adrian Castro, fiction writer Aleksandar Hemon, author, playwright and scholar LeAnne Howe, novelist Micheline Aharonian Marcom, novelist C.E. Morgan, and novelist Annie Proulx.

Media: Filmmakers Rania Attieh and Daniel Garcia, documentary filmmaker Margaret Brown, filmmaker and director Lee Isaac Chung, media artist Jacqueline Goss, filmmaker and director Barry Jenkins, educator and filmmaker Phil Solomon, and radio producer Nick van der Kolk.

Music: Drummer, pianist and composer Jack DeJohnette, violinist and composer Colin Jacobsen and cellist and conductor Eric Jacobsen (musician), bluegrass singer and songwriter Claire Lynch, educator and flute and whistle player Joanie Madden, musician and educator Eugene Rodriguez (musician), banjo player Tony Trishcka, and composer Edward White.

Theater Arts: Poet-playwright Marcus Gardley, performance artist and writer Guillermo Gómez-Peña, playwright, librettist and screenwriter David Henry Hwang, performance artist John Kelly, playwright Adrienne Kennedy, playwright, performance artist and director Robbie McCauley, and choreographer and director Annie-B Parson.

Visual Arts: Educator and conceptual artist Luis Camnitzer, performance artist Coco Fusco, artist and curator Theaster Gates, planning consultant David Hartt, visual artist Edgar Heap of Birds, multimedia artist William Leavitt, photographer Christopher Kolk, sculptor and installation and multimedia artist Alison Saar, and film, video and installation artist Kerry Tribe.[11]


Architecture and Design: Architect, engineer, fashion designer, and educator Elena Manferdini, conceptual artist J. Morgan Puett, architectural designer, artist, and educator Jenny E. Sabin, architects and educators Ada Tolla and Giuseppe Lignano, and architect, scholar, and educator Mabel O. Wilson.

Crafts and Traditional Arts: Multimedia artist and educator Sonya Clark, artist, designer and blacksmith Tom Joyce, glass artist Beth Lipman, textile artist Jon Eric Riis, ceramist and educator Akio Takamori, and basketmaker Aaron Yakim.

Dance: Choreographer Donald Byrd, choreographer, director, and dancer Nora Chipaumire, dancer, choreographer, and video artist Michelle Ellsworth, choreographer and director John Jasperse, choreographer Liz Lerman, choreographer Lar Lubovitch, and dancer and choreographer Morgan Thorson.

Literature: Playwright Annie Baker, poet and educator Terrance Hayes, poet and educator Campbell McGrath, poet A. E. Stallings, and novelist, short story, and non-fiction writer Karen Tei Yamashita.

Media: Screenwriter and director Tze Chun, producer and director Steve James, interdisciplinary artist John Jota Leanos, documentary filmmaker James Longley, radio documentary producers Kara Oehler and Ann Heppermann, filmmaker Dee Rees, screenwriter and director Kelly Reichardt.

Music: Classical guitarist Manuel Barrueco, composer Mary Ellen Childs, singer-songwriter Lila Downs, composer, computer musician, trombonist, and educator George Lewis, composer Sean Shepherd, composer, and performer Sxip Shirey, and composer, singer, and performance artist Holcombe Waller.

Theater Arts: Theater director, filmmaker, writer, and educator Lee Breuer, director John Collins, theater artist Teresa Hernandez, director, playwright, choreographer, designer, and visual artist Nancy Keystone, playwright, artistic director, and educator Kirk Lynn, and playwright and director Octavio Solis.

Visual Arts: Sculptor, filmmaker, educator Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle, conceptual artist and critic Lorraine O'Grady, assemblagist and educator John Outterbridge, conceptual artist Allen Ruppersberg, video and performance artist Carolee Schneemann, painter, theater artist, and educator Roger Shimomura, and documentary photographer and educator Mike Smith.[12]


Architecture and Design: Architect Teddy Cruz, architect Greg Lynn, and graphic designer David Reinfurt.

Crafts and Traditional Arts: Passamaquoddy basketmaker Jeremy Frey, furniture designer Matthias Pliessnig, weaver, writer, and performance artist Joyce Scott, ceramic artist Michael Sherrill, ceramist W. A. Ehren Tool, and basketmaker Jennifer Heller Zurick.

Dance: Choreographer and dancer Miguel Gutierrez, choreographer, musician, and dance filmmaker Dayna Harrison, choreographer Deborah Hay, choreographer Trey McIntyre, dancer and choreographer Bebe Miller, and teacher, dancer and choreographer Awilda Sterling-Duprey.

Film: Director and screenwriter Ramin Bahrani.

Literature: Non-fiction author, journalist, and essayist Charles Bowden, educator and poet Martín Espada, poet and translator Khaled Mattawa, poet and playwright Brighde Mullins, fiction writer and educator Susan Steinberg, cultural critic and journalist Greg Tate, and playwright, screenwriter, and librettist Doug Wright.

Media: Documentary filmmaker Natalia Almada, director and screenwriter Ramin Bahrani, documentary filmmaker Anne Lewis, documentary filmmaker Almudena Carracedo, director, producer, and screenwriter Cherian Dabis, audio producer Barrett Golding, and film director and screenwriter Tina Mabry.

Music: Jazz and classical composer Uri Caine, pianist and composer Gabriela Lena Frank, dobro player Rob Ickes, and avante-garde accordionist and composer Guy Klucevsek.

Theater Arts: Theatrical designer Julie Archer, artistic directors of Pig Iron Theatre Company Gabriel Quinn Bauriedel, Dan Rothenberg, and Dito van Reigersberg, playwright, actor, and artistic director of Carlyle Brown & Company Carlyle Brown, playwright, director, and performer Danny Hoch, writer of screenplays, musicals, and plays Quiara Alegria Hudes, playwright Rajiv Joseph, and ensemble director Gerard Stropnicky.

Visual Arts: Sculptor Siah Armajani, sculptor Dara Birnbaum, conceptual artist Mel Chin, conceptual artist Glenn Ligon, artist, filmmaker, and writer Renée Green, sculptor, performance artist, video artist and photographer Mary Lucier, Allison Smith, quilt artist Anna Von Mertens, and painter Doug Wheeler.[13]


Architecture and Design: Architect and professor Neil Denari, architect, designer, and educator Laura Kurgan, architect, urban designer, developer, and activist Rick Lowe, and fashion designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy.

Crafts and Traditional Arts: Alaskan Alutiiq mask carver Perry Eaton, potters Delores Lewis Garcia/Emma Lewis Mitchell, educator and artist Beth Lo, birch bark basket maker Dona Look, glass artist Mary Shaffer, and ceramic artist Kukuli Velarde.

Dance: Choreographer, dancer, vocalist, and educator Sophiline Cheam Shapiro, performance artists and educators Lin Hixson and Matthew Goulish, hula master and educator Hokulani Holt-Padilla, choreographer and educator Tere O'Connor, and choreographer Reggie Wilson.

Literature: Poet, dramatic monologist, and educator Ai, playwright Nilo Cruz, comic book artist and graphic novelist Gilbert Hernandez, novelist and short story writer Antonya Nelson, poet and novelist Sapphire, novelist and short story writer Justin Torres, poet and essayist Brian Turner, and poet and educator Kevin Young.

Media: Screenwriter and director Cruz Angeles, film director Charles Burnett, radio producer Scott Carrier, documentary filmmaker Heather Courtney, radio artists and producers Elizabeth Meister and Dan Collison, and film director and producer Renee Tajima-Peña.

Music: Oud musician and composer Rahim AlHaj, percussionist and teacher Cyro Baptista, folk singer for children and educator Ella Jenkins, kulintang musician and musicologist Danongan Kalanduyan, jazz trumpeter and composer Hannibal Lokumbe, guitarist Lionel Loueke, and composer Daniel Plonsey.

Theater Arts: Dan Hurlin, actress Ruth Maleczech, John O'Neal, and actress, playwright, and professor Anna Deavere Smith.

Visual Arts: Sculptor Diana al-Hadid, Terry Allen, painter, graphic artist, and printmaker Vija Celmins, Anthony Hernandez, sculptor, video, and performance artist Joan Jonas, performance artist Kim Jones, publishers, master printers, and collagists Martin Mazorra and Michael Houston, and printmaker Dave McKenzie.[14]


Architecture and Design: Julie Bargman, Stephen Burks, Douglas Garafolo, J. Meejin Yoon, and Andrew Zago.

Crafts and Traditional Arts: Alvin Aningayou, Mary Jackson, ceramic artist Richard Notkin, and Judith Schaechter.

Dance: Dancer, choreographer, and performance artist Ann Carlson, Joe Goode, Pat Graney, tap dancer Dianne Walker, and teacher, dancer, and choreographer Jawole Willa Jo Zollar.

Literature: Journalist, anthologist, and music critic Jeff Chang, poet, essayist, translator and novelist Forrest Gander, novelist and short story writer Barry Hannah, poet Joy Harjo, novelist Tayari Jones, A. Van Jordan, novelist and poet Laura Kasischke, poet and novelist le thi diem thuy, and poet, short story writer, and essayist Harryette Mullen.

Media: Realist filmmaker Cary Joji Fukunaga, documentary filmmaker William Greaves, filmmaker Andrew Okpeaha MacLean, screenwriter, video artist, and filmmaker Lourdes Portillo, experimental documentary filmmaker Jay Rosenblatt, and video artist, filmmaker, and theater director Ela Troyano.

Music: Composer, clarinetist, cellist, and jazz pianist Muhal Richard Abrams, Robert Cazimero, Chris Jonas/Molly Sturges, composer Stephen Scott, composer, saxophonist, and flautist Henry Threadgill, and Wu Man, composer and player of the Chinese pipa and ruan.

Theater Arts: Actor Karen Kandel, writer, director, and performer Will Power, director and artistic director Bill Rauch, actor, director, writer, and dramaturge Rosalba Rolon, and conceptual artist lighting designer Jennifer Tipton.

Visual Arts: Installation artist Terry Adkins, conceptual artist Michael Asher, mixed-media artist Andrea Bowers, photographer Deanna Dikeman, painter Barkley L. Hendricks, performance artist Tehching Hsieh, conceptual artist Rodney McMillian, Martha Rosler, video and performance artist Catherine Sullivan, and mixed-media artist Kara Walker.[15]


Architecture and Design: Benjamin Aranda and Christopher Lasch; Benjamin Ball and Gaston Nogues (Ball-Nogues Studio); and Mónica Ponce de León and Nader Tehrani.

Crafts and Traditional Arts: Alaskan Tlingit totem carver Tommy Joseph, textile artist Gwendolyn Magee, electronic textile artist Maggie Orth, ceramic artist Virgil Ortiz, and carver and sculptor Susie Silook.

Dance: Joanna Haigood, Anna Halprin, Rennie Harris,[16] Bill T. Jones, Benjamin Millepied, and Shen Wei.

Literature: Poet Marilyn Chin, poet Henri Cole, short story writer and essayist Charles D'Ambrosio, novelist and short story writer William Gay, poet, essayist, and memoirist John Haines, novelist and nonfiction writer Mat Johnson, poet, playwright, and essayist Cherie Moraga; playwright, writer, and film director Luis Valdez, and short story writer, poet, and editor Helena Maria Viramontes.

Media: Julie Dash, Chris Eyre, Judith Helfand, Alex Rivera, and Susan Stone.

Music: Don Byron, Michael Doucet, Leila Josefowicz, Jason Moran, John Santos, Evan Ziporyn.

Theater: Tina Landau, Elizabeth LeCompte, Michael Sommers, Robert Woodruff.

Visual Arts: Edgar Arceneaux, Uta Barth, Paul Chan, Charles Gaines, Ann Hamilton, Daniel Joseph Martinez, Marcos Ramirez, Allan Sekula, Gary Simmons, and Zoe Strauss.[17]


Architecture and Design: Sigi Moeslinger and Masamichi Udagawa.

Crafts and Traditional Arts: Furniture designer Tanya Aguiniga, textile and clothing designer Liz Collins, master Chilkat blanket weaver Anna Brown Ehlers,[18] jeweler Arline Fisch, ceramist Sarah Jaeger[19] and Tlingit weaver Teri Rofkar.

Dance: Ronald K. Brown, Eiko and Koma, Alonzo King, and Ralph Lemon.

Literature: Novelist Sandra Benitez, poet and novelist Beth Ann Fennelly, short story writer, journalist, and editor Amy Hempel, short story and fiction writer and essayist Victor LaValle, poet Heather McHugh, poet Wesley McNair, novelist and poet Susan Power, comics artist and novelist Joe Sacco, and novelist Matthew Stadler.

Electronic media and Media: Filmmaker Sterlin Harjo, documentary filmmaker Thomas Allen Harris, radio documentary producer David Isay, low-budget, high-camp filmmakers George Kuchar and Mike Kuchar, radio producer and dramatist Dmae Roberts,[20] and Philip Rodriguez.[21]

Music: John Luther Adams, Natividad Cano, Bill Frisell, Jim Woodring, Ali Akbar Khan, Lourdes Pérez.

Theater Arts: Anne Bogart, Ping Chong, Anthony Garcia, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Meredith Monk, Dominique Serrand, Basil Twist.

Visual arts: Laylah Ali, Mark Bradford, Nick Cave, Sam Durant, Mark Handforth, Michael Joo,[22] Michael Lesy, Catherine Opie, William Pope.L, Michael Queenland, Anna Sew Hoy, Chris Ware.


External links[edit]