The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation has announced the launch of a ten-year, $50 million initiative designed to support more than two hundred individual artists in the fields of jazz, theater, and contemporary dance.
Believed to be the largest such effort in the nation, the Doris Duke Performing Artists Initiative will invest in the development and future work of individual artists by providing unrestricted multiyear cash grants. Specifically, the initiative will award fellowships to a total of one hundred artists who have won funding on a national level for at least three different projects over the past ten years, with at least one project having received support from a DDCF-funded program; fellowships to an additional one hundred artists who have demonstrated the potential to influence their respective fields but who have yet to receive significant national support; and a minimum of fifty residencies to artists at dance companies, theaters, or presenting organizations, with half of each grant going to the artist and half to the supporting organization. Grantees will be chosen through an anonymous peer-review process, with the first cohort to be announced in 2012.
Established to enable artists to take creative risks, explore new ideas, and tend to critical needs such as health care and retirement savings, the initiative represents an additional investment by DDCF in the arts above its existing commitment. Since its inception in 1996, the foundation has awarded more than $218 million to bolster the arts nationwide.
"Think of this as a radical vote of confidence in the creativity of more than two hundred individual artists," said DDCF president Ed Henry. "At a time when support for the arts is being cut back across the country, and when most artists — the lifeblood of the field — are struggling just to stay viable project by project, we thought it was essential to step up our commitment. We want to make a contribution large enough to have an impact on the performing arts and above all to give artists their freedom — freedom to experiment, to reflect, to try something new without fear of failure."