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Congratulations to Firelei Báez on receiving the 2020 Herb Alpert Award in the Arts for Visual Arts. The Herb Alpert Foundation and the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) have awarded the 2020 HerbAlpert Award in the Arts (HAAIA) to five exceptional mid–career artists. Now in its 26th year, the annual award provides five unrestricted $75,000 grants to independent artists working in the fields of dance, film/video, music, theatre and visual arts. The recipients will be honored at a virtual ceremony hosted by Herb Alpert, his wife Lani Hall Alpert and the Herb Alpert Foundation on Friday, May 22, 2020.

The awards are adjudicated by three-member panels of noted artists - including many past winners - and arts professionals in each of the five categories. The Herb Alpert Award in the Arts was conceived by music legend Herb Alpert and his wife, Grammy-winning vocalist Lani Hall Alpert to reward creative experimenters who are challenging and transforming art, their respective disciplines, and society. In addition, the awards provide vital financial support to each artist at a key juncture in his or her creative development.


Among the 125 past winners of the Award are artists - Carrie Mae Weems, Vijay Iyer, Taylor Mac, Arthur Jafa, Suzan-Lori Parks, Julia Wolfe, Meshell Ndegeocello, Michelle Dorrance, Tania Bruguera, Kerry James Marshall, Lisa Kron, Okwui Okpokwasili, Sharon Lockhart, Ralph Lemon, and Cai Guo-Qiang.

"We are grateful to be able to celebrate the Herb Alpert Award’s 26th anniversary during this very challenging year, where more than ever the arts are a vital and necessary way of bringing sustenance, meaning and well-being to our world", says Rona Sebastian, Herb Alpert Foundation president. "In recognizing and honoring these five visionary mid-career artists who expand their fields as well as our own horizons, we acknowledge the profound social, cultural and personal impact their work, and the arts overall, has on a civil society...and particularly a civil society in the midst of crisis."

The visual arts panel, which comprised Ondine Chavoya, Professor of Art, Williams College; Paul Ha, Director, MIT List Visual Arts Center; and Naima Keith, Vice President, Education and Public Programs, LACMA, stated of their selection:

"Artist Firelei Báez was named the Visual Arts prizewinner for the fearless, subversive beauty of her expansive, color-saturated, highly patterned and ornamented paintings, for the immersive and layered visual and kinesthetic experience of her ambitious room-sized and public installations, which both subtly and rigorously interrogate history, transporting us to a powerful future that embodies an alternate past."

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