The Herb Alpert Award in The Arts Celebrates 25 Years and 125 Winners

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"The heart and soul of our country is shaped by its artists...and people who support the arts." - HERB ALPERT

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"The heart and soul of our country is shaped by its artists...and people who support the arts." HERB ALPERT

May 13, 2019 marks the 25th year the Herb Alpert Award in the Arts (HAAIA) will be presented to five risk-taking, mid-career artists who use their talent, vision, and labor to make something that matters within and potentially beyond their field.

Since its inception in 1994, the HAAIA has been awarded to 125 artists in the five disciplines of dance, film/video, music, theatre and visual arts. Each artist receives a $75,000 unrestricted prize and a one week residency at the California Institute of the Arts which administers the prize on behalf of the Herb Alpert Foundation.

Irene Borger, Executive Director of HAAIA since its inception twenty-five years ago, reflects on the motivation behind the establishment of the awards. “The Herb Alpert Award was born in response to fevered cutbacks in the arts; now, in its 25th year, once more we are finding ourselves in an increasingly doctrinaire and retrograde period of extremity. Herb Alpert Award artists understand the necessity of an inclusive society, the beauty of independent thought and give us, year after year, a vital, expanded notion of the possible.”

Among the 125 past winners are noted artists, Carrie Mae Weems, Vijay Iyer, Taylor Mac, Suzan-Lori Parks, Julia Wolfe, Michelle Dorrance, Tania Bruguera, Kerry James Marshall, Lisa Kron, Sharon Lockhart, Ralph Lemon, Cai Guo-Qiang and Okwui Okpokwasili to name a few.

The awards are adjudicated by three-member panels of respected artists - including many past winners - and arts professionals in each of the five categories. The Herb Alpert Award in the Arts was conceived by legendary musician, philanthropist and artist Herb Alpert and his wife, Grammy-winning vocalist and author, Lani Hall Alpert, to reward creative experimenters who are challenging and transforming art, their respective disciplines, and society. In addition the awards provide vital financial support to each artist at a key juncture in his or her creative development.

Rona Sebastian, President of the Herb Alpert Foundation shared her thoughts on the Foundation’s role. “We are proud of the sustained contribution the Herb Alpert Foundation has been able to make in advancing the arts and providing support across a wide spectrum of art-making. From the education of young children to college-age students, to the Herb Alpert Award itself, the Foundation honors the treasures of our cultural landscape: risk-taking, mid-career artists.”

The 25th Anniversary celebration and 2019 awards will be held in New York on May 13, 2018.

The Herb Alpert Award in the Arts is an unrestricted prize of $75,000 given annually to five risk-taking, mid-career artists working in the fields of dance, film/video, music, theatre and the visual arts.

The prize was initiated and funded by the Herb Alpert Foundation and has been administered by the California Institute of the Arts since 1994. The Award honors and supports artists respected for their creativity, ingenuity, and bodies of work, at a moment in their lives when they are poised to propel their art in new and unpredictable directions. The Herb Alpert Award recognizes experimenters who are making something that matters within and beyond their field.

The Herb Alpert Foundation envisions a world in which all young people are blessed with opportunities that allow them to reach their potential and lead productive and fulfilling lives. Over the past few years, the Foundation has focused on core areas, such as “The Arts,” a broad category that includes arts education, a focus on jazz, and support to professionals. This also includes programs that seek to use the arts to help meet the needs of underserved youth and to help build competencies that will enable them to become successful adults. The other core area is “Compassion and Well-Being,” which celebrates the positive aspects of human psychology and seeks to bring more empathy and compassionate behavior in to our society.

CalArts (California Institute of the Arts) is recognized internationally as a leading laboratory for the visual, performing, media and literary arts. Housing six schools—Art, Critical Studies, Dance, Film/Video, Music, and Theater—CalArts educates professional artists in an intensive learning environment founded on art-making excellence, creative experimentation, cross-pollination among diverse artistic disciplines, and a broad context of social and cultural understanding. CalArts also operates the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT) in the Walt Disney Concert Hall complex in downtown Los Angeles.

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Caroline Graham

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