Austin author one of sixty 2021 honorees

“Artists are at the core of their communities, and as the difficulties of the past year have demonstrated, it is more important than ever that we continue to support individual artists.”


United States Artists (USA) announced its 2021 USA Fellows. This year, sixty artists across ten creative disciplines will receive unrestricted $50,000 cash awards. The award honors their creative accomplishments and supports their ongoing artistic and professional development. The 2021 USA Fellows class is the largest in the organization’s fifteen-year history. USA Fellowships are awarded to artists at all stages of their careers and from all areas of the country through a rigorous nomination and panel selection process. Fellowships are given in the following disciplines: Architecture & Design, Craft, Dance, Film, Media, Music, Theater & Performance, Traditional Arts, Visual Art, and Writing.


"We are grateful for every artist whose artmaking, music, writing, and more is helping us to navigate and cope through this harrowing time in our country," said United States Artists President and CEO Deana Haggag. “The 2021 USA Fellows are a testament to the power of art in shaping the world around us and navigating its complexities. Artists do so much for our communities, and we are grateful to be able to support these sixty incredible practitioners and welcome them into the United States Artists fellowship.”

The USA Fellowship is the organization’s flagship program and is central to its mission of believing in artists and their essential role in our society. In many ways, 2020 has shown the resilience and necessity of that mission, and the organization. As a founding partner of Artist Relief, United States Artists helped to distribute over $20 million in direct funding to nearly four thousand artists in need. United States Artists also administered the Ford Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s Disability Futures initiative and is working on similar funds that are planned to be announced this year, as the organization works to deepen and diversify its cultural impact.


“Artists are at the core of their communities, and as the difficulties of the past year have demonstrated, it is more important than ever that we continue to support individual artists,” said Ed Henry, USA board chair. “And as we continue to meet the challenges 2021 will bring, it is also clear that USA must remain nimble and responsive to the needs of the field, which is why we are honored to be able to support the largest cohort in our history with sixty artists this year.”


Since 2006, the USA Fellowship has provided direct support to artists across the country. With this unrestricted award, Fellows decide for themselves how to best use the money—whether it is creating new work, paying rent, reducing debt, getting healthcare, or supporting their families. To make its work possible, United States Artists actively fundraises each year and is supported by a broad range of philanthropic foundations, companies, and individuals committed to cultivating contemporary culture across the country.


The 2021 USA Fellows in writing are Alexander Chee, Eve L. Ewing, Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, Dunya Mikhail, Elizabeth McCracken, Natalie Y. Moore, Danez Smith, and Ocean Vuong.


Read the 2015 Lone Star Lit interview with McCracken here and our review of her most recent novel, Bowlaway, here.


The complete list of 2021 USA Fellows can be found here.


United States Artists is a national arts funding organization based in Chicago, Illinois. They raise money and redistribute it in the form of unrestricted awards to the country’s most compelling artists and cultural practitioners. Since their founding in 2006, they have awarded more than 700 individuals with over $33 million of direct support.