Anonymous Was a Woman announces 2020 recipients of grants totaling $250,000

Anonymous Was a Woman announces 2020 recipients of grants totaling $250,000
Anonymous Was a Woman grant recipient Elena del Rivero's "Letters From Home" (2014) Courtesy Flickr Commons | Photo: Mark Shallcross.
Leading lights  -   Artists

More than 600 women artists have been awarded the Anonymous Was a Woman grants. The $25,000 (£18,800) unrestricted grants are given in recognition of accomplishments, artistic growth, originality, and potential to women over 40 who are “at a significant juncture in their lives and careers.” Now, the 2020 cohort of artists have been named.

The artists receiving this year’s awards are:

  • D.Y. Begay, 67
  • Linda Goode Bryant, 71
  • Barbara Chase-Riboud, 81
  • Elena Del Rivero, 72
  • Chitra Ganesh, 45
  • Karen Gunderson, 77
  • Virginia Jaramillo, 81
  • Claudia Joskowicz, 51
  • Karyn Olivier, 52
  • Juana Valdés, 56

Initiated in 1996, the grants are named in reference to a line from Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own. The award was created in response to cutbacks within the National Endowment for the Arts that did away with funding for individual artists. The grants were founded and funded by artist Susan Unterberg, who fittingly remained anonymous until 2018 when she revealed that she was the founder of the awards. More than $6 million in grant money has been distributed to deserving artists since Anonymous Was a Woman begun.

The artists selected for this year’s cohort span a variety of mediums, including weaving, installations, works on paper, paintings, film, among others. A number of backgrounds are represented amongst recipients, as well. Begay is a Navajo, fifth-generation weaver, del Rivero is originally from Spain, Joskowicz from Bolivia, Olivier from Trinidad and Tobago, while Valdés was born in Cuba.

Earlier this year, Anonymous Was a Woman distributed $250,000 in emergency grants of $2,500 (£1,880) each to support artists during the pandemic. These grants carried similar criteria to the Anonymous Was a Woman annual grants.

“The fact that through this award women artists are being recognized for the work, that’s huge, even today,” Goode Bryant told ARTnews. “If it would have been a nickel, I’d have been happy. It would have been a sign I’d been on the right track. But it was more than a nickel.”