The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Just Awarded Four Dance Artists $275,000 Each

September 19, 2020

At a time when many artists are feeling more financially strained than ever before, one of the most coveted grants in the arts is expanding. The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation has responded to the economic crisis by handing out eight Doris Duke Artist Awards, up from six in 2019.

What’s more, half of those have gone to dance artists: Ana María Alvarez of CONTRA-TIEMPO in Los Angeles, Sean Dorsey of San Francisco’s Sean Dorsey Dance and Fresh Meat Festival, Rennie Harris of Philadelphia’s Rennie Harris Puremovement and New York City contemporary choreographer Pam Tanowitz.

The 2020 Doris Duke Artist Awards come with a $275,000 grant—$250,000 of which is completely unrestricted, plus $25,000 meant to encourage savings for retirement.

This year’s other awardees include jazz musicians Andrew Cyrille and Cécile McLorin Salvant and playwrights Michael John Garcés and Dael Orlandersmith.

As Dance Magazine has covered before, this kind of no-strings-attached funding can have a huge impact on artists. Tanowitz explained in a press release, “As a choreographer, I’m most driven by the people I collaborate with in the studio, and because I like to work with a large team, I’ve always prioritized them before myself for the sake of the work. With this unique support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, I will no longer have to choose. For the first time, I will be able to invest in my own well-being worry free and continue to prioritize my collaborators.”