Investing in artists: winners of the 2012 Alpert Awards

Dance · Film · Music · Theater · Visual arts

Los Angeles arts honchos gathered at the oh-so-cool Santa Monica digs of the Herb Alpert Foundation for a joyous occasion on Friday April 10. A generous buffet luncheon celebrated 18 years of Herb Alpert and Lani Hall’s philanthropy. And Irene Borger, the award program’s long-time director, gave her annual recognition to five deserving mid-career creators who work in music, dance, theater, visual arts and film. 

The din of art talk filled the Foundation’s sunlit third-floor loft. So did the industrious output of Herb Alpert creativity. No, not the trumpeter’s music nor his music producing, but rather his colorful paintings and outsized sculptures that decorate the space.

Chatting with choreographer Nora Chipaumire (on left in the photo) about her $75,000 Alpert Award stipend, the Zimbabwean expatriate (now Brooklyn-based) said with charming eloquence: “It’s a jump start on everything. It’s a rosy garden.”

Her flashing smile was equally rosy. The award is huge prestigious honor.

“It’s a promise, but it’s also scary … how to best move forward.”

Chipaumire, whose challenging solo dance-theater is charged with global and sexual politics, said: “I intend to wage relentless propaganda. And I’m not ashamed to use the cold war language.

“I come from the third world, so I’m willing to do more with less. But I’ve always been in want of a safety net. We work without a safety net — we’ve made an art of it.

“I’ve got no time to experiment — with what money? I say what I mean. I’m here to mess up peoples’ perceptions about African women.”

Winner slideshow here …

Alpert Award honorees in dance constitute an interesting bunch. Over the years they have included

2011Jess Curtis
2010Susan Rethorst2002Lisa Nelson
2009Reggie Wilson2001John Kelly
2008Pat Graney2000Mark Dendy
2007Jeanine Durning1999Ralph Lemon
2006Sarah Michelson1998Joanna Haigood
2005Donna Uchizono1997Victoria Marks
2004Stephan Koplowitz1996David Rousseve
2003Rennie Harris1995Ann Carlson

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Photo credit: Scott Groller, CalArts, also Caroline Graham, C4 Global Communications

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