NEW YORK CITY: Among the honorees in a number of live performing arts, this year’s Doris Duke Artist Awards will go to two theatre artists, director Charlotte Brathwaite and performer and writer Kristina Wong, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation has announced. The awards honor artists transforming the fields of dance, jazz, and theatre. The foundation will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the awards with their first in-person awards ceremony last night, Feb. 13, at Lincoln Center. This year’s Doris Duke Artist Awards recipients will each receive a gift of $550,000, doubling the purse from previous years and cementing the program’s legacy as the largest award for individual performing artists.
Brathwaite has developed projects at the Shed and the Kennedy Center, and is currently collaborating with artists Cauleen Smith and Helga Davis on a new project. Brathwaite works across genres to welcome audiences as both spectators and participants. Her work has been presented at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Park Avenue Armory, and the High Line, among other venues around the world. She received her MFA from the Yale School of Drama.
Wong, a comedian, writer, and performer, is best known for the one-woman play Kristina Wong, Sweatshop Overlord, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. The play also won the Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, and Lucille Lortel Awards for Outstanding Solo Performance. Wong is the founder of the Auntie Sewing Squad, a national mutual aid network of volunteers who sewed cloth masks for vulnerable communities at the onset of the COVID pandemic; their work was the impetus for Sweatshop Overlord. Wong is currently the artist in residence at the Arizona State University Gammage theatre program, and is the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Social Practice Resident. Wong is currently working on her next project, #FoodBankInfluencer.
The Doris Duke Artist Awards invest in exemplary individual artists in contemporary dance, jazz, theatre, and related interdisciplinary work who have demonstrated their artistic vitality and commitment to their field. They are presented by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, which works to improve the quality of people’s lives through grants supporting the performing arts, environmental conservation, medical research, and child well-being. As of 2020, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation had an approximate budget of $121 million.
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