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2020 Doris Duke Artist Awards Announcement Skip to main content

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Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Names the 2020 Doris Duke Artists

Eight Performing Artists in the Fields of Dance, Jazz and Theater Receive Doris Duke Artist Awards of Up to $275,000 Each, Totaling $2.2 Million in Unrestricted Funding to Performing Artists

New York, September 17, 2020 — The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF) announced today the names of the 2020 Doris Duke Artists, each receiving an award of $275,000 intended as an investment in and celebration of these artists and their ongoing contributions to the fields of contemporary dance, jazz and theater. A total of $250,000 of the prize is completely unrestricted, and $25,000 is dedicated to encouraging savings for retirement. The awards are not tied to specific projects; rather, they are available to artists to attend to important life needs that can help artists thrive. As one of many ways DDCF is upping its support to individual artists in response to the impacts of Covid-19 on the arts sector, the foundation is expanding the number of artists receiving Doris Duke Artist Awards to a total of eight for 2020, up from six the previous year.

This year’s Doris Duke Artists are:

“The work of this year’s Doris Duke Artist Award recipients is profoundly inspiring and brings vibrancy, insight, gravity and light to the world,” said Ed Henry, president and CEO of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. “We believe that the arts are critically important to the well-being of our nation and at the heart of the arts is the individual artist. We take great pride in supporting these outstanding artists as they continue to develop and share their talent.”

“The 2020 class of Doris Duke Artists consists of an extraordinary set of creative visionaries, and we are thrilled to award them with this support,” said Maurine Knighton, program director for the arts at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. “Each of them has earned this well-deserved recognition, as attested to by a body of their peers through an incredibly rigorous nomination and review process. Our intent for this award has always been to enable its recipients to invest in their own well-being in ways that create the right conditions for them to continue to flourish and do their best work. Amid a year like no other in recent memory, the importance of this aim should be readily apparent to all.”

About the Doris Duke Artist Awards
The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation designed the Doris Duke Artist Awards to invest in exemplary individual artists in contemporary dance, jazz and theater work who have demonstrated their artistic vitality and ongoing commitment to their field. The award is not a lifetime achievement award. Rather, it is a deep investment in the creative potential of dedicated artists. The foundation aims to empower Doris Duke Artists through the freedom of unrestricted support to take creative risks, explore new ideas, and pay for important professional and personal needs not typically funded by the project-related grants that dominate arts funding. While the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation initially conceived the Doris Duke Artists Awards as part of a larger $50 million special initiative that finished in 2017, recognition of the program’s importance in helping artists thrive spurred the foundation to cement a place for the flexible awards in its core strategy to support the arts. With the 2020 class, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation will have awarded nearly $33.5 million to 122 noteworthy artists through the Doris Duke Artist Awards since May 2012. To read more about the Doris Duke Artist Awards and the 2020 Doris Duke Artists, visit

About the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
The mission of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF) is to improve the quality of people’s lives through grants supporting the performing arts, environmental conservation, medical research and child well-being, and through preservation of the cultural and environmental legacy of Doris Duke’s properties. The Arts Program of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation focuses its support on contemporary dance, jazz and theater artists, and the organizations that nurture, present and produce them. In 2015, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) awarded the foundation with a 2014 National Medal of Arts, presented by President Barack Obama, in special recognition of DDCF’s support of creative expression across the United States and “bold commitment” to artistic risk, which has helped artists, musicians, dancers and actors share their talents and enriched the cultural life of the nation. For more information, please visit

Kristin Roth-Schrefer
Communications Director
Doris Duke Charitable Foundation