The Doris Duke Performing Artist Awards was a ten-year program undertaken by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, in partnership with Creative Capital, to empower, invest in and celebrate artists by offering flexible, multi-year funding as a response to financial and funding challenges both unique to the performing arts and to each grantee. Launched in 2011, the Awards program supported individual artists in contemporary dance, theatre, jazz and related interdisciplinary work.
Grants were not tied to any specific project but were intended as deepened investments in the artists’ personal and professional development and future work. Through Creative Capital, the awardees also received the opportunity to take part in professional development activities, financial and legal counseling, and grantee gatherings—all designed to help them maximize the use of their grants.
The Awards program has offered two tiers of support: The Doris Duke Artist Awards and the Doris Duke Impact Awards. Through the Doris Duke Artist Awards, 101 artists received $275,000 each, totaling $27.7 million. In addition, 40 artists received $80,000 each through the Doris Duke Impact Awards.
The Awards program is part of the larger Doris Duke Performing Artists Initiative—a commitment on the part of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation to recognize the potential of individual artists and insure their future viability, in the core fields of the performing arts supported by Doris Duke during her lifetime. Through the Performing Artists Initiative, the foundation’s Building Demand for the Arts program also supports at least 50 partnerships between artists and dance companies, theaters, presenting organizations, and/or select service organizations. Creative Capital maintains administrative, fiscal, and legal oversight of the Awards program. The Building Demand component of the Initiative is administered by the Arts Program at Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.
Ultimately, the Awards program reflected the pioneering spirit and generosity of Doris Duke, who frequently invested in talent or artistic genres, such as jazz, certain forms of modern dance, and traditional Islamic art forms, long before others in the United States recognized the value of such work.