The 2023 class of Doris Duke Artists was revealed at a 10th anniversary celebration for the Doris Duke Artist Awards February 13 at Jazz at Lincoln Center, along with the news that the cash award included with the honor is being doubled. Already the largest award for individual performing artists, Doris Duke Artists honorees will now receive a staggering $550,000 each.
Among this year's honorees are Funny Girl tap choreographer Ayodele Casel and playwright and performer Kristina Wong (Kristina Wong, Sweatshop Overlord), along with composer and trumpet player Chief Xian aTunde Adjuah, director Charlotte Brathwaite, composer and vocalist Somi Kakoma, and choreographer and performer Rosy Simas.
The awards support up to six performing artists annually, specifically in the areas of contemporary dance, jazz, and theatre. The organization hopes the unrestricted grants allow the artists to take creative risks and create new work. The program was launched in 2012.
“When artists thrive, we all thrive,” said Doris Duke Foundation President and CEO Sam Gill in his remarks at the anniversary celebration. “Tonight we evolve the Doris Duke Artist Award from an award to a platform—a platform to advocate and fight for the future of artists.”
“What a decade of this award has revealed to us is that if you trust extraordinary artists like the ones here tonight and give them the conditions to thrive, they will go beyond the boundaries and expectations that you or anyone else could set for them,” said Maurine Knighton, chief program officer at the Doris Duke Foundation. “They will open doors to worlds previously unimagined and unlock new levels of creativity.”
All new and previous awardees were also given the first-ever Doris Duke Artist Award statuette, designed by Tarik Currimbhoy. Previous recipients were additionally given a new gift of $20,000 each.