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MacArthur Foundation announces 2018 fellows

The MacArthur Foundation is one of the largest and most prestigious in the arts. After 30 years, the nonprofit organization has announced the 26 recipients of its 2018 fellowships.

Each year, the MacArthur Foundation hosts a shortlist of nearly 700 candidates for its annual fellowships, known officially as the Geniuses Fellowship, and names an advisory panel of 12 finalists. The finalists are selected for their “outstanding inventiveness, creativity, or originality in pursuing an idea or in attempting to grapple with an issue or problem of national or international importance.”

The fellows receive a $625,000 grant over five years to pursue their chosen projects. Since 1976, the MacArthur Foundation has given more than 8,500 fellowships, with an average award of $625,000 each. The winners have gone on to become the heads of national arts groups, educators, an astronaut, a Pulitzer Prize winner, and more. In recent years, the MacArthur Foundation has awarded more than a third of the fellowship recipients with a MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions in addition to its annual fellowship.

“These 25 men and women who will receive grant awards recognize the fundamental necessity for people to define the new reality in their communities and in our society,” said MacArthur President Julia Stasch. “They will use their ingenuity and creativity to help meet people’s needs and respond to the shifts in technology and society we are witnessing today.”

This year’s MacArthur fellows are:

Andreas Berghout, 27, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Danish Energy Foundation. Berghout works to solve the world’s energy crisis by reinventing the way we fuel our society.

Owain Johnson, 34, Artist, puppeteer, puppetmaker, and writer. Johnson uses puppetry and art to tackle life’s most difficult challenges.

Andrew Clack, 36, Professor, New York University School of Medicine. Clack’s research examines the brain’s chemical reactions in brain circuits associated with thought and behavior.

Janet Dougherty, 47, United States, artist, educator, and historian. Dougherty describes herself as a “struggling painter at heart” who uses her multi-disciplinary education to create work that engages the fields of art, history, and politics.

Aastha Mangla, 55, India, photographer. Mangla’s images explore the relationship between the body and the planet, and the ways people engage with each other and the environment.

Arthur Natale, 67, United States, student. Natale believes that art challenges how people experience pain and suffering. He wants to improve quality of life for young people whose physical and emotional problems are not yet treatable.

Sarah Packer, 34, U.K., teacher, educator, and filmmaker. Packer is a film and theater producer whose work inspires people to seek out their own inner strength.

Janet Wang, 52, China, physician. Wang has dedicated her life to improving the lives of her patients. She aims to help people live longer, healthier lives by helping them discover their inner strengths.

Shahin Farshchi, 50, Iran, writer, photographer, and filmmaker. Farshchi lives in Tehran with his wife and children. He is a documentary film maker whose work explores the impact of the social changes taking place in Iran.

Walter Ruiz (Rey)-Keenan, 50, Netherlands, teacher. Ruiz-Keenan uses dance to tell universal stories of universal hope and empowerment.

Sharon Schatz, 53, United States, artist. As part of her many art projects, Schatz has recruited special needs individuals to work with and learn from kindergartners at the Kalmanovitz Music Arts Center in New York City.

Shaye Weiser, 63, United States, educator. Weiser’s self-esteem studies use psychology to develop adults who understand their own self-awareness.

Eugene Wong, 60, United States, artist, writer, and curator. Wong has developed an innovative approach to art education and residency that engages youth and young adults in critically examining the nature of art, including the dynamics of performance, movement, and audience engagement.

Tentative finalists in the 2019 fellowship will be announced in January. The full list of fellows is posted at https://www.macfound.org/ge….