United States Artists Announces 2021 USA Fellows

February 03, 2021

Chicago–based arts nonprofit United States Artists (USA) has announced sixty recipients of its 2021 fellowships, marking the largest fellowship class in its fifteen-year history. Each of the selected artists, working across ten creative disciplines—Architecture & Design, Craft, Dance, Film, Media, Music, Theater & Performance, Traditional Arts, Visual Art, and Writing—will receive an unrestricted $50,000 cash award.

Among this year’s cohort, drawn from all corners of the country and representing all age groups and career stages, are performance artist Jibz Cameron, aka Dynasty Handbag; photocollage artist Njideka Akunyili Crosby; painter and sculptor Daniel Lind-Ramos; video and installation artist Carolyn Lazard; performance artist rafa esparza, and performance and installation artist Aki Sasamoto.

The program, founded in 2006, aims to honor recipients for their past contributions to the arts, and to support their ongoing artistic and professional development. To that end, the organization stipulates that the cash award may be used for anything from creating new work to paying rent or obtaining health care. Despite the continuing Covid-19 crisis, USA in 2020 was able to distribute $20 million in direct funding to nearly 4,000 artists in need.

“We are grateful for every artist whose artmaking, music, writing, and more is helping us to navigate and cope through this harrowing time in our country,” said United States Artists president and CEO Deana Haggag in a statement. “The 2021 USA Fellows are a testament to the power of art in shaping the world around us and navigating its complexities. Artists do so much for our communities, and we are grateful to be able to support these sixty incredible practitioners and welcome them into the United States Artists fellowship.”

Writer Edwidge Danticat, a 2020 USA Fellow, noted the importance of the fellowship in relation to the pandemic. “Now more than ever,” she said in a statement “artists need this kind of support, not just for continuity, but for safety and survival.”

The complete list of 2021 USA Fellows is below.

Architecture & Design

Jennifer Bonner / MALLWalter HoodOlalekan Jeyifous


Diedrick BrackensBisa ButlerAmber CowanSalvador Jiménez-FloresCannupa Hanska LugerTiff MasseyErin M. Riley


Ishmael Houston-JonesJanpiStarEmily JohnsonCynthia OliverNi’Ja Whitson


Faren HumesMacha ColónStephen MaingDarius Clark MonroeNaima Ramos-ChapmanJennifer Reeder


Morehshin AllahyariStephanie DinkinsLauren Lee McCarthyMother Cyborg


Martha GonzalezEdward “Kidd” JordanTomeka ReidWadada Leo SmithMazz Swift

Theater & Performance

Jibz CameronCarmelita TropicanaChristopher ChenSandra DelgadoIdris GoodwinMia KatigbakKaren Zacarías

Traditional Arts

Ofelia EsparzaNathan P. JacksonBasil KincaidKawika Lum-NelmidaCarolyn L. MazloomiGeo Soctomah NeptuneDelina White

Visual Art

Njideka Akunyili CrosbyLex Brownrafa esparzaMaria GasparSharon HayesCarolyn LazardDaniel Lind-RamosAki Sasamoto


Alexander CheeEve L. EwingHonorée Fanonne JeffersDunya MikhailElizabeth McCrackenNatalie Y. MooreDanez SmithOcean Vuong