The MacArthur Foundation announced a new series of programs for 2016 in celebration of the 35th anniversary of its prestigious Fellows program. The majority of events will be free and open to the public, and will take place throughout the country.
The MacArthur Fellows program awards unrestricted “genius grants,” of $625,000 to between 20 and 40 U.S. residents selected for their exceptional creative work in all fields. The MacArthur Foundation is based in Chicago, and both the Foundation and the Fellowship program have a strong relationship with the city.
In the last 30 years the Foundation has invested nearly $1.1 billion in Chicago, awarding $10 million annually to more than 300 arts and culture organizations and investing over $200 million to foster economic and community development. The Fellows Program, in its 35-year history, has awarded 34 genius grants to people affiliated with the University of Chicago.
Many Chicago-based institutions will showcase the work of MacArthur Fellows in the humanities and sciences throughout 2016.
Showcasing some MacArthur Fellows’ work in the arts, The Poetry Foundation will present an adaptation of a work by MacArthur Fellow and poet Jay Wright (February 20) and a reading by MacArthur Fellow and poet Alice Fulton (May 24). In May, The Chicago Humanities Festival plans to host a one-day series of programs highlighting the some work done by MacArthur Fellows in the humanities.
MacArthur Fellow and orchestra conductor Marin Alsop is working with the Grant Park Music Festival to design three free evenings of performances in July, featuring MacArthur Fellows working in music including genius grant recipients cellist Alisa Weilerstein, violinist Regina Carter, and composer Osvaldo Golijov.
In September, The Chicago Humanities Festival will incorporate MacArthur Fellows into its programming, and The Harris Theater will host a series of dance performances featuring works created by MacArthur Fellows Kyle Abraham, Merce Cunningham, Michelle Dorrance, Mark Morris, and Shen Wei.
On May 25, The Economic Club of Chicago will host two events with four MacArthur Fellows. One will be a conversation between musician and arts entrepreneur Claire Chase and artist and entrepreneur Aaron Dworkin. The other will be a conversation between two University of Chicago professors and recipients of genius grants, John Novembre, associate professor of human genetics, and historian Tara Zahra.
For National Robotics Week in April, The Museum of Science and Industry will host MacArthur Fellows for a discussion and robotics demonstrations.
On November 2, as part of its Women in Science series, The Field Museum will host MacArthur Fellow and conservation biologist Claire Kremen to give a lecture. The programming for the upcoming year is still under development and subject to change.
Recent recipients of the MacArthur Fellowship from UChicago include faculty members geneticist John Novembre (2015), historian Tara Zahra (2014), paleobotanist C. Kevin Boyce (2013), economist Colin Camerer (2013), and alumni, lawyer and legal defense advocate Jonathan Rapping (2014).