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Shirley Woodson, Shield of the Nile No. 2, 1984.
Shirley Woodson, Shield of the Nile No. 2, 1984.

Anonymous Was a Woman Announces $375,000 in Grants

New York–based organization Anonymous Was a Woman (AWAW) has named fifteen recipients of its 2022 awards. The awards, unrestricted grants of $25,000 apiece, are made to woman-identifying artists over the age of forty who have made crucial contributions in their respective fields and who continue to make important work. Of note, contributions made to AWAW by two anonymous supporters and the Boston-based Meraki Artist Award allowed the organization this year to expand the winners’ field from the typical ten annual awardees to fifteen. AWAW was established in 1996 by artist Susan Unterberg, who served as Anonymous’s lone source of funding before revealing herself as the organization’s founder in 2018.

The recipients of this year’s awards range in age from forty to eighty-six and work across media including painting, installation, performance, photography, film/video, and new media. Among the awardees are Syd Carpenter, a sculptor focusing on African American farms and gardens; abstractionist Mary Lovelace O’Neal; and Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, who investigates Native American life in the context of American consumerism via satire.

“I am delighted to congratulate this year’s award recipients—a group of artists who represent a multitude of viewpoints, backgrounds, and formal practices,” said Unterberg. “We are able to honor five additional artists this year, thanks to the generosity of three donors—two of whom are anonymous. When I started Anonymous Was a Woman, I did so to address a need that I felt personally and observed among my peers. I am encouraged that it has inspired other individuals to join us in advancing our mission—particularly as commercial and institutional support for women identifying artists remains insufficient, with recent data studies revealing that only eleven percent of art acquired by the country’s leading museums was by women, and that the sale of women’s artwork makes up only two percent of the global auction market.”

A full list of the 2022 AWAW award recipients is below.

Dr. micha cárdenas, California, installation/sculpture/AR 

Syd Carpenter, Pennsylvania, sculpture 

Yreina D. Cervántez, California, painting/drawing, murals 

Donna Conlon, Panama, interdisciplinary

Abigail DeVille, New Jersey, installation/sculpture, painting, set design 

Leslie Hewitt, New York, photography/sculpture

Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, Puerto Rico, film/video (moving image)

Mary Lovelace O’Neal, California, painting/mixed media

Jaune Quick-to-see-Smith, New Mexico, painting/printmaking

Wendy Red Star, Oregon, photography, painting/drawing

Mira Schor, New York, painting

Coreen Simpson, New York, photography/design

Ka-Man Tse, New York, photography/video

Philemona Williamson, New Jersey, painting

Shirley Woodson, Michigan, painting