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Fellowships from the Chicago-based organization United States Artists count among the most coveted grants of their kind in America. To receive a fellowship from the organization is a sign of distinction, with recipients over the past few years including Lynn Hershman Leeson, Wu Tsang, Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, and many more whose work is now shown widely around the world.

On Wednesday, the organization revealed its 2020 class of artists, dancers, filmmakers, musicians, writers, and more who will receive $50,000 awards. Among them are Nari Ward, whose work was the subject of a New Museum survey in New York in 2019, and Cameron Rowland, whose sculptures figured in an ARTnews list of the artworks that defined the 2010s.

Also receiving awards this year are Howardena Pindell, Melvin Edwards, Guadalupe Rosales, Melvin Edwards, Patty Chang, and Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, as well as RaMell Ross, the filmmaker behind the Oscar-nominated documentary Hale County This Morning, This Evening (2018), and Will Rawls, whose choreography has been seen at various art spaces.

In a phone conversation with ARTnews, Deana Haggag, the president and CEO of United States Artists, said the fellowships are intended to “capture a moment in the cultural landscape of the country.” The grants are unrestricted, and one of the reasons the program is so respected is that its grantees are paired with financial advisers who help them manage what can, for many winners, be a large sum.

Emerging and late-career artists “are winning a lot of things at the same time,” Haggag said, adding, “We’re just trying to give a chance to have some sense of spaciousness, and young people, in particular, don’t know the first thing [they] would do with a lump sum. We’ve seen it make a pretty big difference for artists in that stage.”

The list of 2020 winners follows below.

Architecture & Design

Slow and Steady Wins the Race by Mary Ping
Sara Zewde


Jennifer Ling Datchuk
Del Harrow
Wendy Maruyama
Aaron McIntosh
Linda Sikora


Lisa Nelson
Dianne McIntyre
Will Rawls
Elizabeth Streb
Abby Zbikowski


Sophia Nahli Allison
Bing Liu
RaMell Ross


Yasmin Elayat
Surya Mattu
Guadalupe Rosales


Anthony Braxton
Courtney Bryan
Sylvie Courvoisier
Nathalie Joachim
Nicole Mitchell
Pamela Z

Theater & Performance

Christina Anderson
Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas
Branden Jacobs-Jenkins
Hamid Rahmanian
Clint Ramos
Laurie Woolery

Traditional Arts

Tatsu Aoki
Delores Churchill
Dom Flemons, The American Songster
Lani Strong Hotch
Kevin Locke

Visual Art

Patty Chang
Melvin Edwards
Matthew Angelo Harrison
Howardena Pindell
Cameron Rowland
Jaune Quick-to-See Smith
Martine Syms
Nari Ward


Hanif Abdurraqib
Sarah Broom
Jericho Brown
Edwidge Danticat
Sharon Olds
Crystal Wilkinson

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