On Tuesday, May 3, the Herb Alpert Foundation announced the recipients of the 2022 Herb Alpert Award in the Arts. Administered by CalArts since 1994, the awards this year recognize 10 mid-career, risk-taking artists who challenge and transform art, society and their own disciplines.
Panels of 15 top creative leaders chose the winners, honoring those who push the boundaries in each of five categories: Dance, Film/Video, Music, Theatre, and Visual Arts. Each awardee receives a $75,000 unrestricted prize and visiting-artist residency at CalArts in the upcoming academic year.
The 2022 recipients are:
- nia love and Yanira Castro (Dance);
- Bani Khoshnoudi and Terence Nance (Film/Video),
- Tomeka Reid and Cory Smythe (Music),
- Virginia Grise and Aleshea Harris (Theatre), who are both CalArts alums; and
- Guadalupe Maravilla and Martine Syms (Visual Arts).
All will be honored at a virtual ceremony on Wednesday hosted by Herb Alpert, Grammy Award-winning musician, producer, and philanthropist; Lani Hall Alpert, Grammy-winning vocalist; and the Alpert Foundation. Founded and conceived by Herb Alpert, the award has been granted to 140 artists over its 28-year history.
“The generosity of Herb and Lani is legendary, and their work supporting artists to take risks, through The Alpert Awards, has propelled artmaking in this country for decades,” said CalArts President Ravi Rajan. “The list of past honorees is testament to how the award gives artists the space and time to create work that transforms the world.”
Irene Borger, director of the award since its inception, underscored the honor’s importance in such a trying time for artists. She said the 2022 honorees are “boldly envisioning alternate futures and grappling with the central issues of our time.”
“All 10 artists, each with their singular voice, share a number of factors,” Borger said. “They work across genres. They view audiences as participants. They provocatively connect the past to the present to imagine a new future.”
The panelists shared these details about their prizewinner selections:
- nia love, a choreographer, director and educator, was honored for her resilience, commitment and determination to make performances that tell urgent stories of human capacity; her innovative ways of moving; and an artistic practice that is looking back to move forward.
- Yanira Castro, an interdisciplinary artist or choreographer, was honored for her abundant intelligence imbued with humanity; commitment to progressive values; fierce advocacy for others; and redefinition of the function that an audience member brings to a performance.
- Bani Khoshnoudi, a filmmaker and artist, was named for her distinctive ability to speak to the conditions of transience and exile and to consider complex ethical relationships; for her pursuit of the unspoken and underrepresented; and for her invigorating, empathetic, essential body of work.
- Terence Nance, an artist, was named for his omnivorous curiosity; for his vision of cinema as portal, channel, cosmic material, decolonizing work and experimental vernacular; and for making radical insertions into the pop universe.
- Tomeka Reid, a cellist, improviser, composer and organizer, was selected for her tremendous drive, perspicacity and broad expressive capabilities. Her rigorous, dazzling music spans many idioms; as a performer, she expands what the cello can do.
- Cory Smythe, a pianist, improviser and composer, was selected for his conceptual audacity, intellectual curiosity, fecundity of imagination, virtuosic performances, sonic innovations and diversity of expressive means, all of which extend one’s notion of musicality.
- Virginia Grise (Theater MFA 09), an interdisciplinary artist, was selected for her urgent and probing drama, fluid poetic forms and mammoth undertakings; for her generous, spirit-fueled practice; and, as a cause and creature of community, for converting craft to kinship, wish to mandate and verse to plan of action.
- Aleshea Harris (Theater MFA 14), a playwright, was selected for her furious and playful vision, intense intellectual rigor and experimentations with form; her celebrations of Black life in the midst of historic, systemic and present-day Black death; and for constructing a theatre that challenges not just the art of playwriting but also the cultural conversation it confronts.
- Guadalupe Maravilla, an artist and healer, was honored for his captivating practice and its dynamic sense of ethics and purpose. Through his sculpture, performance and sound bath, he has transformed his personal understanding of trauma into a path of healing and service. The generosity embodied in his work upsets hierarchical relationships between artist and viewer, and unlocks the potential of the imagination.
- Martine Syms, an artist and filmmaker, was honored for the resolutely and unforgiving ways in which her work — contending with central issues of the time — combines profound ethical questioning with challenging aesthetic codes as she exercises command over bold image-making, birthing the radical imagination of the imminent future.
More information is available through a release to the press.
—by Adam Smeltz