Anonymous Was a Woman Announces 2021 Winners, Program Expansion

November 10th, 2021

Anonymous Was a Woman (AWAW), a New York–based organization that for two decades has sought to support women-identifying artists over forty, has announced the winners of its 2021 grants. Owing to a dramatic increase in funding provided by two anonymous donors, AWAW is able to provide a dozen more of the unrestricted $25,000 grants than originally expected; the $300,000 windfall will be divided among four artists annually for the next three years, meaning that the group is able to award grants to fourteen winners annually through 2023, rather than the typical ten. Artnews reports that one of the s donations was made through the newly established Meraki Artist Award, founded by an anonymous Boston-based philanthropist.

“I am delighted to congratulate this year’s award recipients—a group of extraordinary artists who represent a multitude of viewpoints, backgrounds, and formal practices,” said founder Susan Unterberg said. “When I started Anonymous Was A Woman, I did so to address a need that I felt personally as a woman artist in the middle of her career. I never dreamed that it could inspire other individuals to join us in advancing our mission.”

Artists were chosen from applicants anonymously recommended by a group of art historians curators, writers, and artists. Among the recipients this year are interdisciplinary artist and activist Coco Fusco, sculptor Anna Sew Hoy, Lakota painter Dyani White Hawk, and light artist Marian Zazeela, a cofounder with LaMonte Young of New York’s Dream House.

Anonymous Was a Woman was established in 1996 by Unterberg, an artist, who initially served as its sole funder; it  gained widespread attention in 2018 when she revealed herself as its founder. The organization’s grants are unique in that they are awarded to midcareer artists, many of whom are underrecognized. Though the sum awarded is modest, an AWAW grant can provide a career boost at a critical juncture. Many recipients of the award have gone on to gain greater recognition.

The full list of 2021 recipients is below.

Nanette Carter

Oletha DeVane

Adama Delphine Fawundu

Anita Fields

Coco Fusco

Renée Green

Judithe Hernández

Suzanne Jackson

Autumn Knight

Adia Millett

Anna Sew Hoy

Julie Tolentino

Dyani White Hawk

Marian Zazeela