The young philanthropic group United States Artists, or USA, which supports the work of individual artists through cash grants of $50,000 each, has just announced its class of fellows for 2009. The grants are made to artists working in a spectrum of disciplines, including visual art, literature, media, music, and theater.
This year, four grant recipients out of a total of 50 work in architecture or design: Neil Denari, the architect, renderer, and professor at the University of California, Los Angeles; Laura Kurgan of New York, who runs the Spatial Information Design Lab at Columbia University and is known for her graphical interpretations of social data such as the mapping of incarceration statistics; Rick Lowe, a Houston-based artist whose work combines art, architecture, and urban design to address social and civic problems; and the sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Pasadena, Calif., who founded the fashion brand Rodarte, acclaimed for its handcrafted details.
USA was founded in 2005 with $22 million in seed money from the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Prudential Foundation, and the Rasmuson Foundation. It was launched to simply to help promote creative work by artists, who are typically underpaid, underappreciated, and lack health insurance. The grantmaking process begins with applications and nominations and recipients are chosen by experts in the various disciplines. The organization supports emerging artists, those in the middle of their careers, and those who are recognized masters. For more information, go to www.unitedstatesartists.org.