Two Women Academics Are Among the Seven 2021 Doris Duke Artists

The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation recently announced the 2021 Doris Duke Artists, each receiving an award of $275,000 intended as an investment in their artistic potential and celebration of their ongoing contributions to the fields of contemporary dance, jazz, and theater. Signifying the largest national award to individuals in the performing arts, the prize consists of $250,000 in completely unrestricted funding and an additional $25,000 dedicated to encouraging savings for retirement.

Four of the seven artists are women and two have current tiles to the academic world.

Kris Davis won the award in the jazz category. She is a critically acclaimed pianist and composer and the associate program director of creative development at the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice at Berklee College of Music in Boston. Davis is a graduate of the University of Toronto and holds a master’s degree in classical composition from the City College of New York.

Cynthia Oliver is an award-winning dancemaker, performer, and a professor of dance at the University of Illinois. She also serves as associate vice chancellor for research and innovation in the humanities at the university. Professor Oliver joined the faculty at the University of Illinois in 2000. She is the author of Queen of the Virgins: Pageantry and Black Womanhood in the Caribbean (University Press of Mississippi, 2009). Born in the Bronx, New York, and raised in the Virgin Islands, Professor Oliver holds a Ph.D. in performance studies from New York University.

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