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Virginia Jaramillo, Site No. 15 13.5099 S, 71.9817 W, 2018, acrylic on canvas, 72 x 72".
Virginia Jaramillo, Site No. 15 13.5099 S, 71.9817 W, 2018, acrylic on canvas, 72 x 72".

Anonymous Was a Woman Names 2020 Award Recipients

New York–based organization Anonymous Was a Woman (AWAW) has named ten recipients of its 2020 awards. The awards, unrestricted grants of $25,000 apiece, are made to woman-identifying artists over the age of forty who have made significant contributions in their respective fields and who continue to make crucial work. Among this year’s recipients are Linda Goode-Bryant, founder of the storied Just Above Midtown Gallery, the first gallery operating in a major arts district to consistently show work of African American artists and artists of color, and Chitra Ganesh, whose work addresses aspects of femininity, sexuality, and power typically absent from mainstream art and literature.

The awards, which total $250,000, come in the wake of an emergency round of funding in the same amount provided by the organization earlier this year in response to the continuing Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic-spurred awards were offered in amounts of up to $2,500 apiece to 159 artists.

Established in 1996 by artist Susan Unterberg, who served as Anonymous’s sole source of funding, AWAW gained widespread attention in 2018 when Unterberg revealed herself as its founder. The expanded organization features a panel including critics, curators, historians, and this year, for the second time, artists. This year’s recipients are between the ages of forty-five and eighty-one.

The awards are unique in that they address midcareer artists, many of whom are often underrecognized. Though the sum provided is modest, an AWAW award can provide a career boost at a critical juncture, often leading to greater recognition for the recipient. A comment Goode-Bryant made in speaking to Artnews about the amount reflects the rarity of awards to members of this cadre. “If it would have been a nickel, I’d have been happy,” she acknowledged. “It would have been a sign I’d been on the right track. But it was more than a nickel.”

The full list of 2020 recipients and their ages is below.

D. Y. Begay, 67 

Linda Goode Bryant, 71 

Barbara Chase-Riboud, 81 

Elena Del Rivero, 71 

Chitra Ganesh, 45 

Karen Gunderson, 77 

Virginia Jaramillo, 81 

Claudia Joskowicz, 52 

Karyn Olivier, 52

Juana Valdés, 56