United States Artists announces 2022 fellows, including six L.A. area artists

A sculpture of a creature holding a baby.
Sharif Farrag’s “Big Dog (Guardian),” 2021
(Genevieve Hanson / Jeffrey Deitch )

The organization United States Artists has announced its 2022 fellows, and the group of 63 honorees — the Chicago nonprofit’s largest class to date — includes six L.A. area artists.

The awards, recognizing outstanding creative achievements and supporting future artistic endeavors, reflect creative work across 10 disciplines: architecture and design, craft, dance, film, media, music, theater and performance, traditional arts, visual art and writing. Recipients will receive $50,000 each, to be used toward whatever endeavor they want, personal or professional.

“These sixty-three fellows are representative of the magnificent range of disciplines and diversity of our nation’s artists,” USA Board Chair Ed Henry said in a statement.

The local awardees are: maestro and sonero César Castro “Jarochelo,” from L.A.; textile artist Melissa Cody, from Long Beach; multidisciplinary artist Sharif Farrag, from L.A.; director and artist Lars America Jan (who also goes by Lars Jan), from L.A.; poet Leroy F. Moore Jr., from L.A.; and musician and composer Jeff Parker, from Altadena.

“It’s validating in some ways,” Farrag tells The Times in an interview. “I think that, for myself — I’m Middle Eastern, born in Reseda, and my parents are immigrants — just the small bit of the name being the United States Artists, and thinking of being an American artist, it’s something that excites me.”

Farrag says he’s being honored for his ceramic work, but he considers himself a multidisciplinary artist, as he also paints and draws.


“I get excited about the idea of hybridity,” he says. “I’m someone in between a lot of cultures, whether that’s being a Muslim and skateboarding or different music subcultures and countercultures, and a lot of my work visualizes that hybridity.”

A textile with several different colorful patterns.
Melissa Cody’s textile work “World Traveler,” 2014.
(Melissa Cody / Garth Greenan Gallery)

This year’s class of fellows represents “a growing commitment to elevating and amplifying underrepresented voices,” the organization said. Twenty percent of the honorees are native and Indigenous artists, and 17% are disabled individuals — the largest number of both groups in the nonprofit’s 16-year history. Most of the honorees in the architecture and design category identify as people of color.

Several themes can be seen in nearly every represented discipline: social practice, education and pedagogy.

“After another year facing the challenges of the pandemic, artists once again demonstrate their deep commitment to uplifting those around them and nurturing their communities,” says former USA program director Lynnette Miranda, who left her post earlier this month. “The 2022 USA Fellows were selected for their remarkable artistic vision, their commitment to community — both in their specific communities and their discipline at large — and the potential to influence future generations.”

Shaping future creative minds — all minds — is not something Jan takes lightly as an artist working in the theater and performance category.


“I’m interested in story and form and all-inspiring experiences,” Jan says. “But ultimately, I’m in the service of changing consciousness and giving people space to imagine different futures. I think that’s what our world needs more of. I feel like that’s my job description.”

The USA award, Jan adds, is especially meaningful to him because it recognizes “growth over time and the diversity of work that I’ve made,” he says. “I make a lot of different kinds of things, and I just feel that this award acknowledges where I’m at in my practice, the totality of what I’ve been putting together.”

“Artists live and work in every community across this country,” adds newly appointed USA President and CEO Judilee Reed, who assumes her post in May, “and we want to support as many of them as possible.”

Here’s the complete list of 2022 USA Fellows:

Architecture and Design

Germane Barnes, architect, Miami

Nina Cooke John, architect and public artist, Montclair, N.J.

Design Earth, architects, Cambridge, Mass.

Dream the Combine (Jennifer Newsom and Tom Carruthers), installation artists and architects, Minneapolis and Ithaca, N.Y.

SO – IL (Jing Liu and Florian Idenburg), architects, Brooklyn, N.Y.


Indira Allegra, performance artist and sculptor, Oakland, Calif.

Sharif Bey, ceramicist, Syracuse, N.Y.

*Melissa Cody, textile artist, Long Beach

Alison Croney Moses, multidisciplinary artist and maker, Boston

Jovencio de la Paz, weaver, Eugene, Ore.

*Sharif Farrag, multidisciplinary artist, Los Angeles

Jordan Nassar, multidisciplinary artist, New York



luciana achugar, dancer and choreographer, Brooklyn, N.Y.

T. Ayo Alston, dancer, musician and educator, Chicago

Jenn Freeman | Po’Chop, multidisciplinary artist and burlesque performer, Chicago

Rosy Simas, transdisciplinary and dance artist, Mni Sota Makoce, Minn.

Pramila Vasudevan, choreographer and transdisciplinary artist, St. Paul, Minn.

Viveca Vázquez, experimental choreographer, San Juan, Puerto Rico

Netta Yerushalmy, dancer and choreographer, New York

Wondertwins, dance performance artists, Boston


Assia Boundaoui, documentarian, Bridgeview, Ill., and Chicago

Elegance Bratton, writer and director, Baltimore, Md.

Ekwa Msangi, writer and director, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Diane Paragas, filmmaker, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Keisha Rae Witherspoon, filmmaker, Miami


American Artist, artist and educator, New York

Salome Asega, new media artist, New York

Critical Design Lab, critical design collective, Nashville, Tenn., Troy, N.Y., and Lenapehoking (Brooklyn, N.Y.)

Andy Slater, media artist, Berwyn, Ill.


JJJJJerome Ellis, experimental composer and poet, Virginia Beach, Va.

Kenny Endo, taiko artist, Honolulu, Hawaii

Jin Hi Kim, composer and electric komungo performer, Bridgeport, Conn.

Laura Ortman, musician and composer, Brooklyn, N.Y.

*Jeff Parker, musician and composer, Altadena, Calif.

Qacung, Indigenous musician, Bethel, Alaska.

Martha Redbone, vocalist, songwriter, composer and educator, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Craig Taborn, pianist, composer and electronic musician, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Theater and Performance

Nataki Garrett, artistic leader, theatremaker and filmmaker, Ashland, Ore.

Marga Gomez, writer and performer, San Francisco

*Lars America Jan, director and artist, Los Angeles

Machine Dazzle, artist and designer, New York

DeLanna Studi, actor, playwright, artistic director and advocate, Cherokee Nation, Okla.

Traditional Arts


*César Castro “Jarochelo,” maestro sonero, Los Angeles

Peggie L. Hartwell, narrative quilt artist, Summerville, S.C.

Karen Ann Hoffman, Haudenosaunee-raised beadwork artist, Stevens Point, Wis.

Las Imaginistas, Skyborgs (Sociocultural Cyborgs for Nature and Collective Liberation), Rio Grande Delta Carrizo Comecrudo Territory Maiza, Brownsville, Texas

Brett Ratliff, traditional Appalachian musician, Lexington, Ky.

Marty Two Bulls Jr., interdisciplinary artist, Rapid City, S.D.

Peter Williams, culture bearer, artist, designer and educator, Sitka, Ark.

Visual Art

Andrea Carlson, painter, Chicago

Robert Andy Coombs, fine art photographer, Miami

Jorge González Santos, installation artist and educator, Borikén, Puerto Rico

Lonnie Holley, sculptor, painter and musician, Atlanta

Nicole Marroquin, interdisciplinary artist, educator and researcher, Chicago

Olu Oguibe, conceptual artist, Vernon Rockville, Conn.

Jordan Weber, regenerative land sculptor, Cambridge, Mass.

Peter Williams, painter, Wilmington, Del.


Chen Chen, poet, Waltham, Mass.

Kiese Laymon, writer, Oxford, Miss.

Dawn Lundy Martin, poet and writer, Pittsburgh

*Leroy F. Moore Jr., poet, Los Angeles

Emmy Pérez, poet, McAllen, Texas

Grace Talusan, multigenre writer, Boston