Six contributors to the arts were named 2019 Doris Duke Artists, with $275,000 awarded to each recipient.
Selected for the prize were playwrights Marcus Gardley (The House That Will Not Stand) and Lauren Yee (Cambodian Rock Band), choreographers Donald Byrd (The Color Purple) and Michelle Ellsworth, and jazz musicians Terri Lyne Carrington and George Lewis .
"The work of these six artists has inspired creativity, new ideas, and awe across the arts sector and beyond," said Maurine Knighton, program director for the arts at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.
“This award is a massive gift,” said Gardley in a statement. “It means that my work is having an impact nationally, and that means more to me than even the money. After the initial shock and then joy of learning I had received the award came an overwhelming sense of responsibility. Now, I have the opportunity to dig, to really take time to write more epic plays, to see past the margins — to depict more characters and voices that are rarely seen.”
“I am at my best when I create work that builds community and amplifies unexpected and emotionally resonant messages in ways that only I can employ,” said Yee. “Since having my first child in December, I’ve been slowly figuring out what it means to be a parent in an industry that is frequently at odds with the demands of parenthood. This award means that I have the financial security to take care of my daughter and provide for her future while also doing the deep dreaming that art requires and planting the seeds for the next stage of my career.”
Since 2012, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation has awarded more than $9.6 million to 35 artists.