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Award for Excellence in Diversity

The Excellence in Diversity Award, established in 2017, recognizes outstanding efforts in arts programming, projects, and/or scholarship to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion. The award may be made to either an institution or individual for demonstrated and significant advancement of diversity in non-profit institutions such as colleges or universities, museums or galleries, foundations, and/or cultural agencies, especially in areas related to including, embracing, and/or enhancing opportunities for people of all ages, cultures, ethnicities, religions/faiths, genders, differing abilities, and/or sexual orientations.

2021 WINNER

Margo Machida 

Margo Machida, professor emerita in art history at the University of Connecticut, is a pioneering art critic and curator who, since the late 1970s, has contributed to the research, writing, and teaching of highly varied and diverse artistic practices in Asian America. In New York City—to which she moved from her native Hawai‘i for college in 1968—she encountered the explosive energy of the civil rights, Black Power, and third world liberation movements, which shaped her cross-ethnic and intercultural intellectual identity. The year 1990 marked a pivotal moment: Machida designed and taught one of the first college-level courses on Asian American art history. Meanwhile, she contributed a catalog essay to the legendary multi-institutional collaboration exhibition project The Decade Show: Frameworks of Identity in the 1980s. She also cofounded Godzilla: Asian American Art Network, a loose-knit group of artists, curators, and arts practitioners, both American and foreign-born. Throughout the Culture Wars, multiculturalism backlash, and continuing racialization of Asian Americans in light of shifting US demographics, Machida guest-curated the first contemporary Asian American art exhibition, Asia/America: Identities in Contemporary Asian American Art (1994). During this time, Machida also coedited the seminal book Fresh Talk, Daring Gazes: Conversations on Asian American Art (University of California Press, 2003). More recently Machida has employed her worldly orientation toward transpacific island modernism across the Pacific Ocean, where the histories of diaspora and legacies of modern warfares unsettle our vision of diversity. There is neither a singular story nor a singular aesthetic of Asian America, as Machida addressed in her award-winning book Unsettled Visions: Contemporary Asian American Artists and the Social Imaginary (Duke University Press, 2009). However, there is certainly a vibrant community arts movement that challenges mainstream perceptions of American art, Asian diaspora, global migration, and contemporary visual culture. Machida is at its center, an advocate, participant observant, and critical theorist driven by the imperatives of both ethics and aesthetics. 

Jury: Sohl Lee, SUNY Stony Brook; Kelly Murdoch-Kitt, University of Michigan; Carmenita Higginbotham; and Jonathan Katz, University of Pennsylvania. 

PAST WINNERS

2020 3Arts   
Jury: Christine Young-Kyung Hahn, Kalamazoo College, co-chair; Susan D. Zurbrigg, James Madison University, co-chair; Linda Earle, Temple University; and Jacqueline Francis, California College of the Arts.  

2019 Chicano Studies Research Center (CSRC) 
 Jury: Christine Young-Kyung Hahn, Kalamazoo College, cochair; Susan D. Zurbrigg, James Madison University, cochair; Linda Earle, New York Arts Program; Jacqueline Francis, California College of the Arts. 

2018 Kellie Jones, Institute for Research in African American Studies (IRAAS), Columbia University
Jury: Christine Young-Kyung Hahn, Kalamazoo College, co-chair; Susan D. Zurbigg, James Madison University, co-chair; Linda Earle, New York Arts Program; and Jacqueline Francis, California College of the Arts.