Five artists and performers receive $75,000 Herb Alpert Awards

A choreographer known for improvisational dance, a playwright with a darkly comic streak and an artist whose work straddles social practice and installation are among the winners of the 2016 Herb Alpert Award in the Arts.

The five recipients, announced Tuesday, are musician Dohee Lee, playwright Anne Washburn, artist Simone Leigh, choreographer Ishmael Houston-Jones and filmmaker Cauleen Smith, each of whom will receive a $75,000 prize as part of the honor.



May 4, 4:46 p.m.: An earlier version of this article said that filmmaker Cauleen Smith was affiliated with UC San Diego. That is no longer the case. This fall, she will serve as a visiting professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago.


Since 1994, the award, a collaboration between the Herb Alpert Foundation and the California Institute of the Arts, has honored five exceptional mid-career artists on an annual basis.


Last year, the winners included controversial Cuban-born artist Tania Bruguera, composer Julia Wolfe and Los Angeles visual artist Sharon Lockhart.

“We are proud to support their creative energy, freedom of thought and hard work,” foundation President Rona Sebastian said. “These unique, often unconventional artists, have proven to have powerful impact.”

All five recipients will be honored with a luncheon at the Herb Alpert Foundation offices in Santa Monica on Friday.

For more information on the recipients and the Herb Alpert Award, go to

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