CHICAGO: United States Artists has announced the recipients of the 2023 USA Fellowships. This year’s Theatre & Performance Fellows are writer and performing artist Sharon Bridgforth of Inglewood, Calif.; writer, composer, and performer Eisa Davis of Brooklyn, N.Y.; theatremaker and social justice activist Leslie Ishii of Juneau, Alaska; ensemble theatre artist and culture worker Cristal Chanelle Truscott of Chicago, Ill.; and cultural organizers and performers Kattorris Bang! (Nathalie Nia Faulk and indee mitchell) of New Orleans, La. The fellowships are formally awarded in 10 discrete disciplines: Architecture & Design, Craft, Dance, Film, Media, Music, Theatre & Performance, Traditional Arts, Visual Art, and Writing, though many of the fellows are multidisciplinary artists and active in community-based, socially engaged practices in fields beyond the arts. Hailing from 19 states as well as Guam and Puerto Rico, this year’s 45 USA Fellows span many geographies and career stages, with recipients ranging from ages 25 to 96.
The fellowship aims to provide unconditional support and greater agency to individual artists. Each honoree will receive an unrestricted $50,000 cash award, accompanied by a year of financial planning and additional artist services. Funds may be used at each individual artist’s discretion for such expenses as creating new work, paying rent, reducing debt, obtaining healthcare, or supporting their families.
“We are thrilled to celebrate this remarkable class of artists who reach across disciplines to imagine new forms of artmaking reflecting commitments to care, and kinship,” said Judilee Reed, president and CEO of United States Artists, in a statement. “As we enter this new chapter of United States Artists, we will continue to expand upon our historic commitment to elevating artists and their essential work, modeling new paradigms of support that can allow artists to truly thrive.”
United States Artists is a national arts funding organization based in Chicago that raises and redistributes money in the form of unrestricted awards to artists and cultural practitioners. Since its founding in 2006, USA has awarded nearly 800 individuals with over $38 million of direct support through the USA Fellowship. Each year since 2019, United States Artists has also presented the Berresford Prize, an unrestricted $50,000 award given to a cultural practitioner who has contributed significantly to the advancement, well-being, and care of artists in society. USA was one of the core organizers of Artist Relief, an emergency, coalition-led initiative that supported artists facing dire financial circumstances due to COVID-19, and distributed more than $23.4 million in emergency grants to 4,682 artists over 15 months.
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