Performing Arts

Doris Duke Artist Awards


The Doris Duke Artist Awards are flexible, multi-year grants of up to $275,000 that the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF) annually awards to a select number of artists in the fields of dance, jazz and theater. Each award is largely unrestricted but includes a special allotment of funding to incent retirement savings.

The Doris Duke Artist Awards originated out of DDCF's special $50-million Doris Duke Performing Artist Initiative, which was capitalized by a special allocation of funding by DDCF's board in addition to its existing funding commitment to the arts. The awards program launched in 2011 in partnership with Creative Capital. Consisting of two tiers of support—the Doris Duke Artist Awards and the Doris Duke Impact Awards—the program responded to frank feedback DDCF was receiving from artists about their needs, many of which are not met by project-oriented grants and commissions. These needs include but are not limited to research and development time, study, professional development and basic life necessities, such as health insurance and retirement funds. 

While the special, finite initiative concluded in 2016, DDCF continues to address these important concerns and recognize the exemplary work of individual artists through a smaller number of Doris Duke Artist Awards, which are administered internally and drawn from the foundation’s core budget for funding the performing arts.

Doris Duke Artists are chosen based on demonstrated evidence of exceptional creativity, ongoing self-challenge and the continuing potential to make significant contributions to the fields of contemporary dance, jazz and theater. An external panel of experts reviews award candidates; however, the program is not open to application.