Puerto Rican artists winners of the 2023 USA Fellows

CHICAGO, IL — January 24, 2023 — United States Artists (USA) is proud to announce its 2023 USA Fellows. This year, forty-five Fellows across ten creative disciplines will receive unrestricted $50,000 cash awards. The award honors their creative accomplishments and supports their ongoing artistic and professional development. USA Fellowships are awarded to artists at all stages of their careers and from all areas of the country through a rigorous nomination and panel selection process. Fellowships are awarded in the following disciplines: Architecture & Design, Craft, Dance, Film, Media, Music, Theater & Performance, Traditional Arts, Visual Art, and Writing.

Dance, Noemí Segarra Ramírez (she/her) Movement Artist, San Juan, Puerto Rico

Representing nineteen states, Puerto Rico and Guam, the 2023 USA Fellows offer their work as a balm for the past and present, inspiring us to create a world in which everyone’s stories are reflected and respected. Socially engaged practices, community-based work, and healing are particularly important to this year’s group, appearing across every discipline in varying forms. Multidisciplinarity is also a core value for the newest class of USA Fellows, manifesting in the mediums they employ and how their processes, performances, and pedagogy have evolved and responded to both historical currents and contemporary concerns.

The 2023 USA Fellows from Puerto Rico are: Dance, Noemí Segarra Ramírez (she/her) Movement Artist, San Juan, Puerto Rico; Film, Loira Limbal (she/her), Filmmaker, Carolina, Puerto Rico and Music, Eduardo Alegría (he/him), Queer Storyteller , San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The makeup of this year’s class represents a continued commitment to elevating artists at every stage of their career. This year’s class of Fellows range in age from their 20s to 90s, and all present new visions of artistic innovation and excellence across their disciplines. They also demonstrate USA’s focus on elevating regional diversity in arts funding. This year’s class includes the first USA Fellow from Guam, Roquin-Jon Quichocho Siongco, as well as the first Fellows from Arizona in over five years: Barbara Teller Ornelas, an accomplished fifth-generation Navajo weaver, and Ofelia Zepeda, a Tohono O’odham poet, linguist, and Director of the American Indian Language Development Institute.

“We are thrilled to celebrate this remarkable class of artists who reach across disciplines to imagine new forms of artmaking reflecting commitments to care and kinship,” noted Judilee Reed, President and CEO of United States Artists. “As we enter this new chapter of United States Artists, we will continue to expand upon our historic commitment to elevating artists and their essential work, modeling new paradigms of support that can allow artists to truly thrive.”

Music, Eduardo Alegría (he/him), Queer Storyteller , San Juan, Puerto Rico.

“This year, we are proud to award forty-five fellowships to this incredible group of artists and cultural practitioners whose interdisciplinary, community-centered work demonstrates the power of our country’s art ecosystems to advance equity and offer new paths forward,” commented Ed Henry, United States Artists Board Chair. “United States Artists’ commitment to unrestricted, artist-centered funding continues to reinforce the greater necessity of such philanthropic support within the field at large.”

Past awardees include musician and composer Laura Ortman (2022), creative composer and trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith (2021), painter and visual artist Howardena Pindell (2020), dancer and choreographer Alice Sheppard (2019), poet Claudia Rankine (2016), potter Roberto Lugo (2016), writer Teju Cole (2015), filmmaker Barry Jenkins (2012), documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras (2010), fashion designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte (2009), multidisciplinary artist Martha Rosler (2008), and multimedia artist Paul Chan (2007).

Karen Ann Hoffman, 2022 Traditional Arts Fellow, said, “While creating my art (Haudenosaunee Raised Beadwork), I am exquisitely connected to my heritage; I hear the whispers of a thousand generations of our artists. This Fellowship from United States Artists provided a portal allowing me to introduce that ancestral culture to a broad, engaged audience. USA's financial support, augmented by opportunities for professional growth and business development, created a secure sounding board for the messages of my cultural past to resonate into our shared future. I am grateful.”

The USA Fellowship is the organization’s flagship program and is central to its mission of believing in artists and their essential role in our society. Since 2006, the USA Fellowship has provided direct support to artists across the country. With this unrestricted award, Fellows decide for themselves how to best use the money—whether it is creating new work, paying rent, reducing debt, getting healthcare, or supporting their families. The organization has awarded nearly 800 artists and cultural practitioners with over $38 million of direct support through the USA Fellowship.

Each year since 2019, United States Artists has also presented the Berresford Prize – an unrestricted $50,000 award given to a cultural practitioner who has contributed significantly to the advancement, well-being, and care of artists in society. Past recipients include: Louise Erdrich (2022), Lulani Arquette (2021), Roberto Bedoya (2021), Linda Goode Bryant (2020), and Kristy Edmunds (2019).

Film, Loira Limbal (she/her), Filmmaker, Carolina, Puerto Rico

In addition to directly providing resources to artists and cultural practitioners, United States Artists advises foundations, philanthropists, and other field partners to create or expand programs, administer funds, and conduct research in support of artists. Partners have included Mellon Foundation, Ford Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Kenneth Rainin Foundation, and Maxwell | Hanrahan Foundation, among others. In 2020, USA was one of the core organizers of Artist Relief, an emergency, coalition-led initiative that supported artists facing dire financial circumstances due to COVID-19, and distributed more than $23.4 million in emergency grants to 4,682 artists over 15 months.

To make its work possible, United States Artists actively fundraises each year and is supported by a broad range of philanthropic foundations, companies, and individuals committed to cultivating contemporary culture across the country.

The 2023 USA Fellowships were generously made possible by: Sarah Arison, Barr Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Builders Initiative, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Eames Institute of Infinite Curiosity, Ford Foundation, The Ford Family Foundation, David Horvitz and Francie Bishop Good, Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Mellon Foundation, Miranda Family Fund, Pritzker Pucker Family Foundation, Rasmuson Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, The Fred and Eve Simon Charitable Foundation, The Todd and Betiana Simon Foundation, Paul and Annette Smith, Walder Foundation, Katie Weitz PhD, Windgate Foundation, USA Ambassadors, and USA Board of Trustees.