“I’ve always loved the artists that travel the road less traveled…those are the artists that touch me.”
May 13 will mark the 25th anniversary celebration of the Herb Alpert Award in the Arts (HAAIA) and the2019 to five risk-taking, mid-career artists – experimenters – who are challenging and transforming art, their respective disciplines, and society. Founded and conceived by legendary musician, philanthropist and artist Herb Alpert, and his Grammy-winning vocalist wife, Lani Hall in conjunction with the California Institute of the Arts, the HAAIA has been awarded to 125 artists in the five disciplines of dance, film/video, music, theatre and visual arts. Each artist receives a $75,000 unrestricted prize and a residency at CalArts which administers the prize on behalf of the Herb Alpert Foundation.
Herb Alpert and wife Lani Hall created the Herb Alpert Foundation in the 1980s. Over thirty years and more than $175 million dollars later, Herb Alpert remains one of America’s most important and loyal advocates of the arts and art education. Having witnessed the gradual, and sometimes precipitous decline of funding for the arts, Herb Alpert decided to do something about it, and artists found a new arena of support – and a new champion.
Speaking on his passion for arts education, Alpert explains, “I was a very shy eight year-old. I went to this music class and they had a table filled with instruments. I picked up a trumpet. As I learned to play, I began to
realize the trumpet could do my talking for me – it was saying what I couldn’t get out of my mouth. Obviously it transformed my life and that’s why I’m so excited about kids having this same type of opportunity.”
Irene Borger, Director of HAAIA since its inception in 1994, reflects on the Award’s continued importance. “The Herb Alpert Award was created in response to dramatic cutbacks in the arts and an attempt to limit freedom of expression. Right now, in an increasingly doctrinaire and ferocious period, Herb Alpert Award artists embody imaginative independence and an inclusive society. Their quests and questioning offer expanded, critical notions of the possible.”
Rona Sebastian, President of the Herb Alpert Foundation shared her thoughts on the Foundation’s role. “We are proud of the sustained contribution the Herb Alpert Foundation has been able to make in advancing the arts and providing support across a wide spectrum of art-making. From the education of young children to college-age students, to the Herb Alpert Award itself, the Foundation honors the treasures of our cultural landscape.”
Today, the Herb Alpert Award in the Arts announces the 2019 panelists (see below). Each award is adjudicated by three-member panels of respected arts professionals and artists – including many past winners – in each of the five categories.
Lili Chopra – Executive Director, Artistic Programs, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Brooklyn, New York
Joanna Haigood – choreographer, Herb Alpert Award Artist, Bolinas, CA
Stanford Makishi – Vice-President for Programming, New York City Center, New York
Pablo DeOcampo – exhibitions curator, Western Front, Vancouver, Canada
Bill Morrison – filmmaker, Herb Alpert Award Artist, New York
Diana Nawi – independent curator, Los Angeles
Derek Bermel – composer, performer, Herb Alpert Award Artist, Brooklyn, NY
Vijay Iyer – composer-pianist, professor, Harvard University, Herb Alpert Award Artist, New York
Pamela Z – composer/performer, Herb Alpert Award Artist, San Francisco
Loretta Greco – director, artistic director, Magic Theatre, San Francisco
Gideon Lester – Artistic Director for Theater and Dance, Bard Fisher Center, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York
Carl Hancock Rux – writer/performer, Herb Alpert Award Artist, Brooklyn, New York
Bill Arning – independent curator and arts consultant, Houston, TX
Marcela Guerrero – assistant curator, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
Hamza Walker – director, LAXART, Los Angeles
Six of the fifteen panelists – Joanna Haigood, Bill Morrison, Derek Bermel, Vijay Iyer, Pamela Z and Carl Hancock Rux, respectively — are past Herb Alpert Award in the Arts winners.
Among the 125 past winners are noted artists: Carrie Mae Weems, Taylor Mac, Suzan-Lori Parks, Julia Wolfe, Michelle Dorrance, Tania Bruguera, Kerry James Marshall, Lisa Kron, Sharon Lockhart, Ralph Lemon, Cai Guo-Qiang and Okwui Okpokwasili to name a few.
The 25th Anniversary celebration and 2019 awards will be held in New York on May 13, 2019