United States Artists has awarded fellowships to 45 individuals across the arts. The fellows will each receive $50,000 cash awards intended to “honor their creative accomplishments and support their ongoing artistic and professional development.” Fellowships were awarded across ten disciplines: Architecture & Design, Craft, Dance, Film, Media, Music, Theater & Performance, Traditional Arts, Visual Art, and Writing.
The 2023 Fellows represent nineteen states, Puerto Rico, and for the first time, Guam. Socially engaged, community-based work features across all ten disciplines, as does a multidisciplinary approach to the Fellows’ artistic outputs. Fellows in the 2023 class range in age from their 20s to 90s, and “all present new visions of artistic innovation and excellence across their disciplines,” according to the organization.
The 2023 Fellows from the Architecture & Design discipline are the designer and musician Alexis Hope from Seattle, WA and Cambridge, MA, the design justice architect Bryan C. Lee Jr from New Orleans, LA, the food designer and social practice artist Krystal C. Mack from Baltimore, MD, and the architect and analog immersive installation artist Deanna Van Buren from Oakland, CA.
The 2023 Architecture & Design Fellows join previous recipients such as Theaster Gates, Jennifer Bonner, Germane Barnes, Nina Cooke John, and Mabel O. Wilson. Below, we have offered a deeper insight into the four winners from the Architecture & Design discipline.
Dr. Alexis Hope creates playful experiences that help people find joy, self-compassion, and connection with others. Hope’s practice centers on designing spaces for artistic freedom, experimentation, and community support. She spent a decade at MIT, where she received her PhD at the MIT Media Lab in 2021. As a designer, she has worked on projects across a variety of domains from cameras for deep-sea exploration, to creative learning technologies for children.
Bryan C. Lee Jr
Lee is the Founder and Director of Colloqate Design, a nonprofit design practice focused on expanding the field toward Design Justice through organizing, advocacy, and design. He established the contemporary Design Justice Movement and was a founder of both the Design As Protest Collective and Dark Matter University. He is currently a design critic at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.
Krystal C. Mack
A self-taught designer and artist, Krystal C. Mack uses her social practice to highlight food and the more-than-human world’s role in collective healing, empowerment, and decolonization. A critical element of Mack’s practice involves exploring food and nature beyond the limits of common consumption. She began her practice as a bodyworker and baker in the hospitality industry. She now approaches this work as a social designer and trained herbalist, maintaining regard for African diasporic foodways and following the intuitive ancestral wisdom of the Earth.
Deanna Van Buren
Deanna Van Buren is an award-winning architect and activist recognized internationally for her leadership in using architecture, design, and real estate innovations to address the social inequities behind the mass incarceration crisis. Van Buren is cofounder of Designing Justice + Designing Spaces, an architecture and design firm with the mission of dismantling the punitive infrastructure of the prison system by designing and building new spaces informed by restorative justice. These include peacemaking centers, mobile reentry housing, holistic behavioral health hubs, spaces for youth, spaces for diversion/reentry, and more.
Learn more about the other 41 fellows on the United States Artists’ website here.
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