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CAA News Today

Collaboration with the MacArthur Foundation

posted by CAA — Jan 12, 2016

One of CAA’s annual Distinguished Artists’ Interviews at the 2016 Annual Conference in Washington, DC—the artist Rick Lowe in conversation with the photographer LaToya Ruby Frazier—is among the first events of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s year-long series of performances, discussions, and other events to celebrate the thirty-fifth anniversary of its iconic fellowship program. The MacArthur Foundation will collaborate with a diverse set of partners for 2016 programming, including Chicago’s Grant Park Music Festival, Washington’s Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and New York’s 92nd Street Y. Most events will be open to the public for free or at low cost. Video of many events will be published online.

Lowe received a MacArthur fellowship in 2014, and Frazier won the prize in 2015. The Distinguished Artists’ Interviews will take place on Friday, February 5, 2:30–5:00 PM, in the Thurgood Marshall Ballroom East/South, Mezzanine Level, at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC. Preceding their conversation will be another interview: the artist Joyce Scott interviewed by George Ciscle of the Maryland Institute College of Art. Both talks will be live streamed on CAA’s YouTube page.

“Working across every field imaginable, MacArthur fellows capture the public imagination and inspire people to nurture creativity in their own lives and communities,” said Cecilia Conrad, managing director of the MacArthur Fellows Program, during a luncheon at the City Club of Chicago that also featured the labor organizer Ai-Jen Poo and the artist Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle, both MacArthur fellows. “This year-long celebration will showcase fellows’ work, foster new collaborations, and enable these highly creative people to further inspire us all.”

Programming is under development and subject to change; but it is expected to include the following events:

  • Lowe will deliver a lecture on “Art in the Social Context” at Stanford University’s Haas Center for Public Service in California, as part of the Mimi and Peter E. Haas Distinguished Visitor program(February 4)
  • In conjunction with an exhibition of her work, the Whitney Museum of American Art will host a discussion with the documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras (New York, February).
  • Sixth & I, a historic synagogue and cultural event space in Washington, DC, will present a panel discussion featuring MacArthur fellows (March)
  • The 92nd Street Y in New York will present a panel discussion featuring MacArthur fellows (March)
  • The Economics Club of Chicago will feature two conversation pairings with the arts entrepreneur Claire Chase and the music educator Aaron Dworkin, as well as the computational biologist John Novembre and the historian Tara Zahra (May 25)
  • MacArthur fellows will be featured in a plenary session at the annual convention of Americans for the Arts in Boston (June)
  • The Chicago Humanities Festival will incorporate MacArthur fellows into its regular annual programming (September)
  • The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, will host two free public performances by MacArthur fellows through its Millennium Stage series (October)

The anniversary celebration will also include an online component, featuring one MacArthur fellow each month responding to public questions on Reddit as well as interviews with fellows on popular YouTube channels.

The MacArthur fellowship—called “genius grants” by the media—recognizes exceptionally creative individuals with a track record of achievement and the potential for significant contributions in the future. Fellows each receive a no-strings-attached stipend of $625,000, which comes with no stipulations or reporting requirements and allows recipients maximum freedom to follow their own creative visions. Since 1981, 942 people have been named MacArthur fellows. Fellows are selected through a rigorous process that has involved thousands of expert and anonymous nominators, evaluators, and selectors over the years.