NEW YORK CITY: The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF) announced seven performing artists as the recipients of the 2018 Doris Duke Artist Awards today. The awards honor artists in theatre, jazz, contemporary dance, and related interdisciplinary work who have demonstrated vitality and commitment in their field, and are designed to give individual artists unrestricted support to continue taking artistic risks and exploring new ideas. This year’s Doris Duke Artists for theatre will be Muriel Miguel and Rosalba Rolón.
“For us, it’s pretty simple,” said DDCF president and CEO Edward P. Henry in a statement. “Like our programs in medical research, child well-being, and the environment, we recognize that the arts also are critically important to our communities. And at the heart of the arts is the individual artist. This award frees artists to be artists by providing them with the financial security to take risks and to make great work.”
Miguel is based in Brooklyn, N.Y. and is the artistic director and one of the founding members of Spiderwoman Theater. She has directed almost all of their shows since its founding in 1976. Miguel has worked as a director, choreographer, playwright, actor, and educator and is known for her work in telling the stories of Native American, First Nations, and Indigenous peoples. She is a pioneer in the development of a culture-based methodology for the training of Indigenous theatre students. Miguel recently wrote and directed Fear of Oatmeal at Spiderwoman Theater, a new play featuring an all-Indigenous cast.
Rolón is the co-founder and artistic director of Pregones Theater, which merged with the Puerto Rican Traveling Theater in 2013. She grew up in Puerto Rico and is based in New York City, where she works as a performer, playwright, dramaturg, and director. Rolón is known for creating a uniquely Latino musical theatre repertory and for her adaptations. She was a 2008 United States Artists (USA) Fontanals Fellow in Theater Arts and serves on the boards of USA and National Association of Latino Arts & Cultures.
Miguel and Rolón, as well as the other Doris Duke Artists (jazz artists Dee Dee Bridgewater, Regina Carter, and Stefon Harris; and contemporary dance artists Michelle Dorrance and Okwui Okpokwasili), will each receive a $250,000 award, as well as up to an additional $25,000 to encourage contributions to retirement savings. The foundation aims to pay for important professional and personal needs through these awards, which are not typically funded by the project-related grants that dominate arts funding.
Conceived as part of a larger $50 million special initiative that concluded in 2017, the awards were set to end with last year’s cycle of artists, but recognition of the awards’ importance for artist development led DDCF to implement the awards into its core strategy for arts support. Moving forward, the foundation plans to honor seven artists annually.
Previous Doris Duke Artists include Ping Chong, Steve Coleman, John Collins, Dave Douglas, Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Eiko Otake, Zeena Parkins, Elizabeth Streb and Yosvany Terry.