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Herb Alpert-funded awards will pay five artists $75,000 each

October 26, 2010 |  8:45 am

HerbAlpertAratanha The annual Alpert Awards in the Arts –- for which Herb Alpert’s charitable foundation antes up the five $75,000 prizes and partners with California Institute of the Arts in the selection process -- announced this year's winners on Monday.

Rachel Harrison won in visual arts; Lukas Ligeti, a composer and percussionist, received the music award; choreographer Susan Rethorst won in dance, Bill "Rev. Billy" Talen in theater, and animator Jim Trainor in film/video. All are based in New York City except Trainor, a Chicagoan.

In addition to the money, which the artists are free to use as they wish, the winners each serve a weeklong residency at CalArts, which can include teaching and presenting their work.

The awards, geared toward mid-career artists, are based on past achievement and future promise, and aim to give the winners a boost "at a time ... when they are poised to propel their art in new and unpredictable directions," the foundation said.

Past winners include photographer Catherine Opie (2003), playwright Suzan-Lori Parks (1996) and composer Chen Yi (1997). Part of Alpert's motivation in starting the awards, first given in 1995, was to make up for the decision to end grants to individual artists by the National Endowment for the Arts. That decision came in the wake of political tumult over controversial works some had created with federal aid.

-- Mike Boehm


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Photo: Herb Alpert. Credit: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times