logo of the Herb Alpert Award in the Arts 25th anniversary

The Herb Alpert Award in the Arts is an unrestricted prize of $75,000 given annually to five risk-taking mid-career artists working in the fields of dance, film/video, music, theatre and the visual arts.


History

When the Herb Alpert Foundation established and funded the Herb Alpert Award in the Arts in 1994, the foundation selected CalArts — nationally recognized for its artistic excellence — to administer and collaborate creatively with its awards program.

The Herb Alpert Award in the Arts, started 25 years ago by the renowned musician and artist Herb Alpert, honors and supports artists for their creativity, ingenuity and experimentation. honors and supports artists for their creativity, ingenuity and experimentation. Not only are the artists honored for their bodies of work, but also, at the time, in their careers when they're on the precipice of career-making and career-changing breakthroughs. The Herb Alpert Award recipients are art-makers who create work that matters both within and beyond their respective fields.

Although CalArts faculty and students are not eligible for the award while at CalArts, several alumni have received the Herb Alpert Award in the Arts during the programs's 25-year history, while other award honorees have gone on to join CalArts faculty. 

Among them are:

  • Dance artist and choreographer luciana achugar (Dance BFA 95) received the Herb Alpert Award for Dance in 2017;
  • Experimental filmmaker Craig Baldwin, a former faculty member of the School of Film/Video, received the 1997 Herb Alpert Award for Film/Video;
  • Playwright and director Erik Ehn, a former dean of CalArts School of Theater, received the Herb Alpert Award for Theater in 2001;
  • Poet, playwright, novelist, essayist and recording artist Carl Hancock Rux, a former CalArts School of Theater faculty member, received the Herb Alpert Award for Theater in 2003;
  • Artist and choreographer Maria Hassabi (Dance BFA 94) received the Herb Alpert Award for Dance in 2015;
  • Director and choreographer Stephan Koplowitz, honoree of the Herb Alpert Award for Dance in 2004, served as dean of The Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance at CalArts.
  • Composer Anne Lebaron, current faculty of The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts, received the 1996 Herb Alpert Award for Music;
  • Artist and filmmaker Sharon Lockhart, a current faculty member of the School of Art, received the 2015 Herb Alpert Award for Film/Video in 2015;
  • Artist Daniel Joseph Martinez (Art BFA 79) received the 2014 Herb Alpert Award for Visual Arts in 2014;
  • Artist Catherine Opie (Art MFA 88) was awarded the Herb Alpert Award for Visual Arts in 2003;
  • Playwright Suzan-Lori Parks, a former School of Theater faculty member, received the 1996 Herb Alpert Award for Theater in 1996;
  • Filmmaker and multimedia artist Cauleen Smith, a current faculty member of the School of Art, received the Herb Alpert Award in 2016 for Film/Video;
  • Artist and filmmaker Deborah Stratman (Film/Video MFA 95) received the 2014 Herb Alpert Award for Film/Video; 
  • Artist Catherine Sullivan (Art BFA 92) received the 2004 Herb Alpert Award for Art in 2004;
  • Donna Uchizono, choreographer and former faculty member of The Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance at CalArts, received the 2005 Herb Alpert Award for Dance. 
  • Artist Carrie Mae Weems (Art BFA 71) received the award for Visual Arts in 1996.

View all award recipients


Herb Alpert Award Residencies at CalArts

Each Herb Alpert Award recipient develops a weeklong residency at CalArts during the year of their award. These visits are planned in conjunction with a CalArts faculty member usually working in the same field of practice. Residencies may include workshops, productions or concerts, seminars, lectures as well as individual critiques of student work.

The 2018 recipients — choreographer Okwui Okpokwasili (Dance), filmmaker Arthur Jafa (Film/Video), composer and pianist Courtney Bryan (Music), playwright Robert O'Hara (Theater) and interdisciplinary artist Michael Rakowitz (Visual Arts) — are all in residency in early 2019 at CalArts. 

We'll post videos from their CalArts residencies as they become available.