UCROSS ARTISTS HONORED WITH OVER A DOZEN MAJOR AWARDS THIS SPRING | Prestigious honors include two Pulitzer Prizes and Six Guggenheim Fellowship
UCROSS, WY (May 26, 2020) – In the past three months, Ucross artist alumni have received an unusually high number of high-profile, prestigious honors and awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction to Colson Whitehead and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama to Michael R. Jackson. (Jackson’s win for his musical A Strange Loop marked only the tenth time a musical has won in the Drama category in the 102-year history of the Pulitzer Prizes.) Whitehead’s win was also historic, as it marked his second Pulitzer Prize, placing the author in a rare group of two-time winners, including William Faulkner and John Updike.
Six Ucross alumni received Guggenheim Fellowships in a variety of disciplines, including choreography, film/video, drama/performing arts, fine arts, and fiction from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Six drama alumni received Lucille Lortel Award nominations (with one win), and two visual artists were named Pollock-Krasner grant recipients from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation. One writer won a prestigious Whiting Award, and the Library of Congress reappointed Joy Harjo to a second term as the United States Poet Laureate. For a full list of award recipients, see below.
“It has been a quiet yet challenging spring everywhere, no less for artists and arts organizations. So it was extremely exciting to see the national awards roll in for Ucross alumni in literature, the visual arts, and the performing arts,” says Sharon Dynak, President and Executive Director of Ucross. “This is important recognition for the artists and it also underscores how meaningful artistic creativity is to the world. The mission of our residency program – located on a 20,000-acre ranch in northeast Wyoming – is to support individual creators with space and time to work. Their time in Ucross bears amazing fruit in future years, and 2020 has been an especially fruitful year so far.”
For nearly 40 years, Ucross has been dedicated to supporting the creation of new work, from a diverse range of artists, working across disciplines at varying stages of their professional careers. The recent prizes, awards, and fellowships are among a long list of Ucross alumni achievements that include 13 Pulitzer Prizes, nine MacArthur “Genius” Awards, seven National Book Awards (including two winners in 2019), eight Tony Awards, 85 Guggenheim Fellowships, two Academy Awards, and many more. These distinguished honors – some of which have been awarded to works created in part at Ucross – serve as a testament to the power of the “time and space” and the High Plains experience that Ucross provides.
Pulitzer Prizes – 2020 Pulitzer Prizes, announced on May 4, were awarded to Michael R. Jackson’s musical A Strange Loop in the Drama category and Colson Whitehead’s novel The Nickel Boys in the Fiction category. Jackson worked on his musical during two separate residencies at Ucross. He also provided a sneak peek to attendees of Ucross’s first New York Gala & Awards Dinner in 2018. In addition, the organization’s first Ucross Spotlight event coincided with the premiere of A Strange Loop at Playwrights Horizons in New York
City. Two additional two Ucross alumni were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize: Ann Patchett for her novel The Dutch House in the Fiction category and Jeanine Tesori (with David Henry Hwang) for Soft Power in the Drama category.
Guggenheim Fellowships – Announced in April, six Ucross alumni were among the 175 scholars, artists, and writers honored with 2020 Guggenheim Fellowships from the John S. Guggenheim Foundation: Moyra Davey (Film-Video), Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (Drama and Performance Art), Alex Ketley (Choreography), Helen Mirra (Fine Arts), Sigrid Nunez (Fiction), and Helen Phillips (Fiction).
Lucille Lortel Awards – Six Ucross alumni were nominated for Lucille Lortel Awards, which recognize off-Broadway artists and productions. One alumnus, Dave Malloy went on to win in the Outstanding Musical category for Octet. Other nominees were: Aziza Barnes for BLKS in the Outstanding Play category; Eisa Davis for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical in The Secret Life Of Bees; Michael Jackson for A Strange Loop and Jeanine Tesori for Soft Power in the Outstanding Musical category; and Matthew Dean Marsh for We’re Only Alive for A Short Amount of Time in the Outstanding Solo Show category.
Ucross alumni have recently received additional honors and grants: visual artists Rhona Bitner and Munson Hunt were awarded Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grants in contemporary art; Ling Ma received a Whiting Award in Fiction for her novel Severance; John Kelly, Sheila Tousey, and Jennifer Kidwell (who plans to come to Ucross soon) were named recipients of the Mabou Mines 2020 “Ruthie” Award named in honor of Ucross alumna Ruth Maleczech; Tanya Barfield was named the winner of the PEN/Laura Pels Theatre Award; Peter Rock was named a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for his novel The Night Swimmers.