Herb Alpert Award in the Arts to Celebrate 25th Anniversary

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Congratulations to the Herb Alpert Award in the Arts (HAAIA) on its milestone 25th Anniversary, to be celebrated on May 13 in New York when they will announce the five 2019 winners, all risk-taking, mid-career artists who are challenging and transforming art, their respective disciplines, and society.

From the HAAIA press release announcing this year’s panelists:

Founded and conceived by legendary musician, philanthropist and artist Herb Alpert, and his Grammy-winning vocalist wife, Lani Hall in conjunction with the California Institute of the Arts, the HAAIA has been awarded to 125 artists in the five disciplines of dance, film/video, music, theatre and visual arts. Each artist receives a $75,000 unrestricted prize and a residency at CalArts which administers the prize on behalf of the Herb Alpert Foundation.

Herb Alpert and wife Lani Hall created the Herb Alpert Foundation in the 1980s. Over thirty years and more than $175 million dollars later, Herb Alpert remains one of America’s most important and loyal advocates of the arts and art education. Having witnessed the gradual, and sometimes precipitous decline of funding for the arts, Herb Alpert decided to do something about it, and artists found a new arena of support – and a new champion.

Speaking on his passion for arts education, Alpert explains, “I was a very shy eight year-old. I went to this music class and they had a table filled with instruments. I picked up a trumpet. As I learned to play, I began to realize the trumpet could do my talking for me – it was saying what I couldn’t get out of my mouth. Obviously it transformed my life and that’s why I’m so excited about kids having this same type of opportunity.”

Irene Borger, Director of HAAIA since its inception in 1994, reflects on the Award’s continued importance. “The Herb Alpert Award was created in response to dramatic cutbacks in the arts and an attempt to limit freedom of expression. Right now, in an increasingly doctrinaire and ferocious period, Herb Alpert Award artists embody imaginative independence and an inclusive society. Their quests and questioning offer expanded, critical notions of the possible.”

Rona Sebastian, President of the Herb Alpert Foundation shared her thoughts on the Foundation’s role. We are proud of the sustained contribution the Herb Alpert Foundation has been able to make in advancing the arts and providing support across a wide spectrum of art-making. From the education of young children to college-age students, to the Herb Alpert Award itself, the Foundation honors the treasures of our cultural landscape.”

Today, the Herb Alpert Award in the Arts announces the 2019 panelists (see below). Each award is adjudicated by three-member panels of respected arts professionals and artists – including many past winners – in each of the five categories.


Lili Chopra – Executive Director, Artistic Programs, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Brooklyn, New York

Joanna Haigood – choreographer, Herb Alpert Award Artist, Bolinas, CA

Stanford Makishi – Vice-President for Programming, New York City Center, New York


Pablo DeOcampo – exhibitions curator, Western Front, Vancouver, Canada

Bill Morrison – filmmaker, Herb Alpert Award Artist, New York

Diana Nawi – independent curator, Los Angeles


Derek Bermel – composer, performer, Herb Alpert Award Artist, Brooklyn, NY

Vijay Iyer – composer-pianist, professor, Harvard University, Herb Alpert Award Artist, New York

Pamela Z – composer/performer, Herb Alpert Award Artist, San Francisco 


Loretta Greco – director, artistic director, Magic Theatre, San Francisco

Gideon Lester – Artistic Director for Theater and Dance, Bard Fisher Center, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York

Carl Hancock Rux – writer/performer, Herb Alpert Award Artist, Brooklyn, New York 

Visual Arts

Bill Arning – independent curator and arts consultant, Houston, TX

Marcela Guerrero – assistant curator, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

Hamza Walker – director, LAXART, Los Angeles

Six of the fifteen panelists – Joanna Haigood, Bill Morrison, Derek Bermel, Vijay Iyer, Pamela Z and Carl Hancock Rux, respectively — are past Herb Alpert Award in the Arts winners.

Among the 125 past winners are noted artists: Carrie Mae Weems, Taylor Mac, Suzan-Lori Parks, Julia Wolfe, Michelle Dorrance, Tania Bruguera, Kerry James Marshall, Lisa Kron, Sharon Lockhart, Ralph Lemon, Cai Guo-Qiang and Okwui Okpokwasili to name a few.

The 25th Anniversary celebration and 2019 awards will be held in New York on May 13, 2019

About the Herb Alpert Award in the Arts

The Herb Alpert Award in the Arts is an unrestricted prize of $75,000 given annually to five, risk-taking, mid-career artists working in the fields of dance, film/video, music, theatre and the visual arts. The prize was initiated and funded by the Herb Alpert Foundation and has been administered by the California Institute of the Arts since 1994. The Award honors and supports artists respected for their creativity, ingenuity, and bodies of work, at a moment in their lives when they are poised to propel their art in new and unpredictable directions. The Herb Alpert Award recognizes experimenters who are making something that matters within and beyond their field.

About The Herb Alpert Foundation 

The Herb Alpert Foundation envisions a world in which all young people are blessed with opportunities that allow them to reach their potential and lead productive and fulfilling lives. Over the past few years, the Foundation has focused on core areas, such as “The Arts,” a broad category that includes arts education, a focus on jazz, and support to professionals. This also includes programs that seek to use the arts to help meet the needs of underserved youth and to help build competencies that will enable them to become successful adults. The other core area is “Compassion and Well-Being,” which celebrates the positive aspects of human psychology and seeks to bring more empathy and compassionate behavior into our society. Please note: the Foundation does not accept unsolicited proposals.