MacArthur Fellows

MacArthur today announced a year-long series of performances, discussions, and other events to celebrate the 35th anniversary of its iconic MacArthur Fellows Program in 2016.

The Foundation will collaborate with a diverse set of partners for the programming, including Chicago’s Grant Park Music Festival, Washington’s Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and New York City’s 92nd Street Y. Most of the events will be open to the public for free or at low cost. Video of many events will be made available online.

“Working across every field imaginable, MacArthur Fellows capture the public imagination and inspire people to nurture creativity in their own lives and communities,” said Cecilia Conrad, Managing Director of the MacArthur Fellows Program, during a luncheon at the City Club of Chicago featuring labor organizer Ai-Jen Poo and artist Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle, both MacArthur Fellows. “This year-long celebration will showcase Fellows’ work, foster new collaborations, and enable these highly creative people to further inspire us all.”

Programming is under development and subject to change; but it is expected to include the following events as well as others to be announced later.

  • Public artist Rick Lowe will deliver a lecture on “Art in the Social Context” at Stanford University's Haas Center for Public Service as part of the Mimi and Peter E. Haas Distinguished Visitor program (Stanford, CA, Feb. 4). 
  • The College Art Association will host a discussion with photographer LaToya Ruby Frazier and public artist Rick Lowe as part of its 104th Annual Conference (Washington, DC, Feb. 5).
  • The Poetry Foundation will present the Chicago-based collective Every House Has a Door’s adaptation of a work by poet Jay Wright (Chicago, Feb. 20).
  • In conjunction with an exhibition of her work, the Whitney Museum of American Art will host a discussion with documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras (New York City, Feb.). 
  • Sixth & I, a historic synagogue and cultural event space, will present a panel discussion on immigration featuring writers Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Aleksandar Hemon and Assistant to the President and Director of the Domestic Policy Council Cecilia Muñoz (Washington, DC, March 7). View video of this event.
  • New York’s 92nd Street Y will present a panel discussion featuring MacArthur Fellows (New York, March).
  • Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry will host MacArthur Fellows for events marking National Robotics Week, including Jr. Science Cafes, a public conversation, and robotics demonstrations (Chicago, April 2).
  • The National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution, in collaboration with the American Historical Association, will host a conference on “The Future of the African American Past,” featuring scholars, activists and historians, including several MacArthur Fellows (Washington, DC, May 19-21, 2016).
  • The Poetry Foundation will host a reading by poet and writer Alice Fulton (Chicago, May 24). 
  • The Economic Club of Chicago will feature two conversation pairings with arts entrepreneur Claire Chase and music educator Aaron Dworkin as well as computational biologist John Novembre and historian Tara Zahra (Chicago, May 25).
  • Wingspread will host a public event featuring MacArthur Fellows working on issues of interest to the Johnson Foundation and the Racine community (Racine, May).
  • The Chicago Humanities Festival, will host a one-day series of programs highlighting the work of MacArthur Fellows (Chicago, May).
  • MacArthur Fellows will be featured in a plenary session at the annual convention of Americans for the Arts (Boston, June).
  • Orchestra conductor and MacArthur Fellow Marin Alsop is designing three free evenings of performances in conjunction with the Grant Park Music Festival that will showcase MacArthur Fellows working in music and science, including cellist Alisa Weilerstein, violinist Regina Carter, and composer Osvaldo Golijov (Chicago, July).
  • The Harris Theater will host a free, two-night dance performance series featuring curated works created by MacArthur Fellows, including Kyle Abraham, Merce Cunningham, Michelle DorranceMark Morris, and Shen Wei (Chicago, Sept. 16 and 17 or 18).
  • The Chicago Humanities Festival will incorporate MacArthur Fellows into its regular annual programming (Chicago, Sept.).
  • The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts will host two free public performances by MacArthur Fellows through its Millennium Stage series (Washington, DC, Oct.).
  • Conservation biologist Claire Kremen will speak at as part of the Women in Science series at The Field Museum (Chicago, Nov. 7).  

Also during the yearlong anniversary MacArthur Fellows will field questions from the public in reddit ask-me-anything sessions and appear on other digital platforms.

The MacArthur Fellowship, called “genius grants” by the media, recognizes exceptionally creative individuals with a track record of achievement and the potential for significant contributions in the future. Fellows each receive a no-strings-attached stipend of $625,000, which comes with no stipulations or reporting requirements and allows recipients maximum freedom to follow their own creative visions. Since 1981, 942 people have been named MacArthur Fellows.

Fellows are selected through a rigorous process that has involved thousands of expert and anonymous nominators, evaluators, and selectors over the years. The Foundation does not accept unsolicited nominations.  

MacArthur Fellows, Fellows 35th, Aaron Dworkin , Aleksandar Hemon , Alice Fulton , Alisa Weilerstein, Cecilia Muñoz, Chimamanda Adichie, Claire Chase, Claire Kremen, Jay Wright , John Novembre, Kyle Abraham, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Laura Poitras, Marin Alsop , Mark Morris , Merce Cunningham , Michelle Dorrance, Osvaldo Golijov , Regina Carter , Rick Lowe, Shen Wei, Tara Zahra, Kyle Abraham, 2013 MacArthur Fellow, Chimamanda Adichie, 2008 MacArthur Fellow, Marin Alsop, 2005 MacArthur Fellow, Regina Carter, 2006 MacArthur Fellow, Claire Chase, 2012 MacArthur Fellow, Merce Cunningham, 1985 MacArthur Fellow, Michelle Dorrance, 2015 MacArthur Fellow, Aaron Dworkin, 2005 MacArthur Fellow, LaToya Ruby Frazier, 2015 MacArthur Fellow, Alice Fulton, 1991 MacArthur Fellow, Osvaldo Golijov, 2003 MacArthur Fellow, Aleksandar Hemon, 2004 MacArthur Fellow, Claire Kremen, 2007 MacArthur Fellow, Rick Lowe, 2014 MacArthur Fellow, Mark Morris, 1991 MacArthur Fellow, Cecilia Muñoz, 2000 MacArthur Fellow, John Novembre, 2015 MacArthur Fellow, Laura Poitras, 2012 MacArthur Fellow, Alisa Weilerstein, 2011 MacArthur Fellow, Shen Wei, 2007 MacArthur Fellow, Jay Wright, 1986 MacArthur Fellow, Tara Zahra, 2014 MacArthur Fellow