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Mary Reid Kelley in Blouin Artinfo

By Taylor Dafoe


Today, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced the 23 recipients of the 2016 fellowship award. The fellowship, commonly known as the "genius grant," is awarded annually to cutting edge artists, writers, scientists, and other creatives, and comes with an unrestricted stipend of $625,000, paid out over five years — one of the largest prizes of its kind in the world. 


It's also one of the most prestigious. Former MacArthur grant winners are some of the most influential figures of the last 25 years, including John Ashbery, Merce Cunningham, Susan Sontag, Cindy Sherman, and David Foster Wallace, to name but a few. 


The recipients of this year's MacArthur Fellowship are:

Ahilan Arulanantham (Human Rights Lawyer)
Daryl Baldwin (Linguist and Cultural Preservationist)
Anne Basting (Theater Artist and Educator)
Vincent Fecteau (Sculptor)
Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (Playwright)
Kellie Jones (Art Historian and Curator)
Subhash Khot (Theoretical Computer Scientist)
Josh Kun (Cultural Historian)
Maggie Nelson (Writer)
Dianne Newman (Microbiologist)
Victoria Orphan (Geobiologist)
Manu Prakash (Physical Biologist and Inventor)
José A. Quiñonez (Financial Services Innovator)
Claudia Rankine (Poet)
Lauren Redniss (Artist and Writer)
Mary Reid Kelley (Video Artist)
Rebecca Richards-Kortum (Bioengineer)
Joyce J. Scott (Jewelry Maker and Sculptor)
Sarah Stillman (Long-Form Journalist)
Bill Thies (Computer Scientist)
Julia Wolfe (Composer)
Gene Luen Yang (Graphic Novelist)
Jin-Quan Yu (Synthetic Chemist)


“While our communities, our nation, and our world face both historic and emerging challenges, these 23 extraordinary individuals give us ample reason for hope," MacArthur Foundation President Julia Stasch said in a statement. "They are breaking new ground in areas of public concern, in the arts, and in the sciences, often in unexpected ways. Their creativity, dedication, and impact inspire us all.”


You can read more about the recipients' individual work here.