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Doris Duke Foundation Announces First Class of Doris Duke Artists

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Twenty-one of America’s most vital and productive performing artists in contemporary dance, jazz, theatre and multidisciplinary work were announced today as the first class of Doris Duke Artists, sharing a total of $5.775 million awarded in an unprecedented new initiative of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF). Each member of the first class will receive an unrestricted, multi-year cash grant of $225,000, plus as much as $50,000 more in targeted support for retirement savings and audience development. Creative Capital, DDCF’s primary partner in the Doris Duke Performing Artist Awards, will also offer the awardees the opportunity to take part in professional development activities, financial and legal counseling, and grantee gatherings—all designed to help them maximize the use of their grants.

DDCF is granting these awards as part of a $50 million, ten-year commitment over and above its existing funding for the performing arts. 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, theatre and related fields. 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 is naming the first Doris Duke Artists in the year that marks the centenary of the birth of Doris Duke (1912-1993). The 2012 inaugural award recipients are: Anne Bogart, theatre (New York, NY);Don Byron, jazz (New York, NY); Wally Cardona, dance (Brooklyn, NY); Rinde Eckert, multidisciplinary performance (Upper Nyack, NY); Bill Frisell, jazz (Seattle, WA); Deborah Hay, dance (Austin, TX); John Hollenbeck, jazz (Binghamton, NY); Vijay Iyer, jazz (New York, NY); Marc Bamuthi Joseph, multidisciplinary performance (Oakland, CA); Elizabeth LeCompte, theatre (New York, NY); Young Jean Lee, theatre (Brooklyn, NY); Ralph Lemon, dance (New York, NY); Richard Maxwell, theatre (Brooklyn, NY); Sarah Michelson, dance (Brooklyn, NY); Bebe Miller, dance (New York, NY and Columbus, OH); Nicole Mitchell, jazz (Long Beach, CA and Chicago, IL); Meredith Monk, multidisciplinary performance (New York, NY); Eiko Otake, dance (New York, NY); Takashi Koma Otake, dance (New York, NY); Basil Twist, theatre (New York, NY); Reggie Wilson, dance (Brooklyn, NY).

The members of the first class of Doris Duke Artists vary in age from their mid-thirties to their late sixties and early seventies. While all are widely recognized as accomplished creators in their fields, some are known for exploring and reinterpreting an existing tradition (Don Byron), some for expanding the parameters of an art form (Meredith Monk) and some for creating astonishing new hybrids (Rinde Eckert). To qualify for consideration by the review panels, all of 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 first class of artists were chosen based on demonstrated evidence of exceptional creativity, ongoing self-challenge and the continuing potential to make significant contributions to their fields in the future.

Ben Cameron, Program Director for the Arts at DDCF, stated, “We are thrilled to offer these awards to a remarkable inaugural class of Doris Duke Artists. We hope these flexible, multi-year, unrestricted cash grants demonstrate our commitment to investing in, empowering and celebrating these individuals, who have proven time and time again that they are leaders in their fields and deserving of our support. We established the Doris Duke Performing Artists Initiative in recognition of the fact that individual artists—however celebrated and accomplished—too often struggle to piece together a life of economic dignity. We hope these awards allow artists to step off the project treadmill, should that be their desire, and offer them freedom to experiment, to reflect and to try something new without fear of failure or other negative consequences.”

Rachel Ford, Program Director for the Doris Duke Performing Artists Awards, stated, “This first class of 21 Doris Duke Artists is known for creating work that inspires and challenges audiences across the country, and indeed around the globe. Our program will give these incredible artists an opportunity to define their own needs on their own schedules—whether those needs include health insurance, project research or just time to sit down and think. At its heart, this award recognizes the important contributions of these performing artists to the dynamic cultural fabric of our nation.”

Ruby Lerner, Executive Director, Creative Capital, added, “We are so excited to be partnering with DDCF on this important program, which will make an extraordinary investment in the careers of the awardees, and by extension in the field overall. Creative Capital is a permanent laboratory for best practices in artist services, with more than a decade’s experience of helping thousands of artists achieve success. This flexible program of funding and multi-faceted support will encourage these outstanding artists to think boldly in their artistic work and strategically in their professional and personal planning.”

DDCF will eventually name a total of at least 100 Doris Duke Artists, each of whom will receive $225,000 as an unrestricted cash grant over three to five years and will qualify for an additional $25,000 earmarked for audience development—including but not limited to arts education. In addition, DDCF is prepared to provide $25,000 more on an incentive matching basis for retirement savings. 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. Unlike the Doris Duke Artists, these individuals may not yet have received significant national support. Each Impact Award recipient will receive $60,000 in unrestricted funding over a period of two to three years, an additional $10,000 earmarked for audience development and $10,000 on an incentive matching basis for retirement savings. 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.

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 grant-making 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 for educational and recreational purposes.

The Foundation awarded its first grants in 1997. To date, the Foundation has awarded grants totaling more than $1 billion.

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.

About Doris Duke: On the Centenary of Her Birth: Born on November 22, 1912 in New York City, Doris Duke was the only child of John Buchanan (J.B.) Duke, a founder of the American Tobacco Company and Duke Energy Company. Upon his death in 1925, his fortune was divided between Doris, who was then only 12 years old, and the Duke Endowment — a foundation he established to serve the people of the Carolinas.

Intelligent, daring and independent, Doris Duke used her wealth to pursue her personal interests, many of which were considered unconventional during the period but today reveal her prescience as a free-thinking adventurer. Among other things, she was a passionate patron, participant and lover of the arts, actively pursuing forms such as jazz piano and composition as well as modern dance — which she studied with celebrated choreographer Martha Graham.

She was also an early funder of AIDS research; an environmentalist and horticulturist who bred a new hybrid of orchid; a war correspondent in Italy during World War II; and a bold experimenter who learned to surf before the sport was widely known outside of Hawaii. Her abundant interests also extended to foreign cultures, international travel and the visual arts. Through her many trips around the world, she acquired countless treasures, most of which are currently on display at her former home, Shangri La — now a center for the study of Islamic art and cultures.

A lifelong philanthropist, Doris Duke also contributed to a variety of public causes, including medical research and child welfare. When she was just 21, she established a foundation called Independent Aid through which she gave away the equivalent of hundreds of millions in today’s dollars—often as anonymous contributions. At age 56, she then established the Newport Restoration Foundation (NRF) to save the rapidly disappearing 18th-century architecture in Newport, Rhode Island. Finally, through her will, she established her ongoing legacy by calling for the creation of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF), which has to date awarded more than $1 billion in grants.

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