USA Artist Fellowships Go to Njideka Akunyili Crosby, rafa esparza, Carolyn Lazard, and More

USA Artist Fellowships Go to Njideka Akunyili Crosby, rafa esparza, Carolyn Lazard, and More

The Chicago-based arts nonprofit United States Artists (USA) has named the 60 recipients of this year’s fellowships, which each come with a $50,000 cash award. The selected artists were drawn from 22 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, and represent all age groups and career stages.

Among the awardees in the visual arts, craft, and traditional arts categories are performance artist rafa esparza; quilt portraitist Bisa Butler; photocollage artist Njideka Akunyili Crosby; video and installation artist Carolyn Lazard, and painter and assemblage sculptor Daniel Lind-Ramos.

The program, now in its 15th year, has become closely watched, since many of its awardees go on to achieve fame in the years after winning a fellowship. Among those who have won USA fellowships at various points in their careers are Mark Bradford, Catherine Opie, and Wangechi Mutu.

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Awardees are encouraged to use the cash prize in whatever means best supports their lives, from paying rent to financing new projects. In 2020, as a founding partner of Artist Relief, USA helped to distribute $20 million in direct funding to artists impacted by the Covid-19 crisis.

“We are grateful for every artist whose artmaking, music, writing, and more is helping us to navigate and cope through this harrowing time in our country,” United States Artists president and CEO Deana Haggag said in a statement. “The 2021 USA Fellows are a testament to the power of art in shaping the world around us and navigating its complexities.”

The complete list of 2021 USA Fellows follows below:

Architecture & Design

Jennifer Bonner / MALL
Walter Hood
Olalekan Jeyifous


Diedrick Brackens
Bisa Butler
Amber Cowan
Salvador Jiménez-Flores
Cannupa Hanska Luger
Tiff Massey
Erin M. Riley


Ishmael Houston-Jones
Emily Johnson
Cynthia Oliver
Ni’Ja Whitson


Faren Humes
Macha Colón
Stephen Maing
Darius Clark Monroe
Naima Ramos-Chapman
Jennifer Reeder


Morehshin Allahyari
Stephanie Dinkins
Lauren Lee McCarthy
Mother Cyborg


Martha Gonzalez
Edward “Kidd” Jordan
Tomeka Reid
Wadada Leo Smith
Mazz Swift

Theater & Performance

Jibz Cameron
Carmelita Tropicana
Christopher Chen
Sandra Delgado
Idris Goodwin
Mia Katigbak
Karen Zacarías

Traditional Arts

Ofelia Esparza
Nathan P. Jackson
Basil Kincaid
Kawika Lum-Nelmida
Carolyn L. Mazloomi
Geo Soctomah Neptune
Delina White

Visual Art

Njideka Akunyili Crosby
Lex Brown
rafa esparza
Maria Gaspar
Sharon Hayes
Carolyn Lazard
Daniel Lind-Ramos
Aki Sasamoto


Alexander Chee
Eve L. Ewing
Honorée Fanonne Jeffers
Dunya Mikhail
Elizabeth McCracken
Natalie Y. Moore
Danez Smith
Ocean Vuong

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