2015 MacArthur ‘Genius Grant’ Recipients Announced

Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mimi Lien, and Basil Twist are among those rewarded for their creativity and artistic potential.

Mimi Lien
Mimi Lien

CHICAGO: The MacArthur Foundation has announced the recipients of the 2015 MacArthur Fellowship or “Genius Grant.” Fellows, who will receive a stipend of $625,000 over five years with no strings attached, are chosen for their creative accomplishments and potential. Among the 24 recipients—a diverse group that counts photographers, chemists, and classicists as members—are theatrical artists Mimi Lien, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Basil Twist.

Lin-Manuel Miranda
Lin-Manuel Miranda

Lien, a  set designer whose work includes the kinetic design for Soho Rep’s 2014 production of An Octoroon and the knick-knack-laden environment for Annie Baker’s John at Signature Theatre in 2015, has earned praise from the foundation for her “bold, immersive designs [that] shape and extend a dramatic text’s narrative and emotional dynamics.” Twist’s pioneering work in the field of puppetry (Symphonie Fantastique; La Bella Dormente nel Bosco) extends to a number of a theatrical fields. His latest work, Sisters’ Follies: Between Two Worlds, will run Oct. 1-31 at Abrons Arts Center.

Miranda is quickly on his way to household-name status with his Broadway smash hit Hamilton, and he was recently featured on the cover of this magazine. The foundation credits him for his expansion of the American musical idiom to include a wider range of styles and voices.

Basil Twist
Basil Twist

“These 24 delightfully diverse MacArthur Fellows are shedding light and making progress on critical issues, pushing the boundaries of their fields, and improving our world in imaginative, unexpected ways,” said MacArthur President Julia Stasch in a statement. “Their work, their commitment, and their creativity inspire us all.”

Director Julie Taymor, playwright Suzan-Lori Parks, and graphic artist Alison Bechdel—whose graphic memoir Fun Home was adapted into a Tony-winning stage musical—are among the grant’s past recipients.

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