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Kristy Edmunds. Photo: The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.

Kristy Edmunds Receives United States Artists’ Inaugural Berresford Prize

The Chicago-based nonprofit United States Artists (USA) has established a new $25,000 award that recognizes cultural practitioners who have contributed significantly to the advancement, well-being, and care of artists in society. The organization announced that the inaugural prize recipient is Kristy Edmunds, the executive and artistic director of the Center for the Art of Performance at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

“At USA, we are thrilled to expand our awards program to include and honor those in the cultural vanguard who support artists every day,” said board chair Steven H. Oliver. “While conceiving the prize, it was obvious to everyone involved to name it after our founder Susan V. Berresford who has worked tirelessly to ensure that artists are valued and recognized for their work at this organization and beyond.”

Prior to joining UCLA, Edmunds was the founding executive and artistic director of the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art in Portland, Oregon, and the inaugural consulting artistic director for the Park Avenue Armory in New York. In recognition of her contribution to the arts, the French government named Edmunds a Chevalier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2016.

“I was astonished in every sense of the word to learn that I was being named the inaugural Berresford Prize awardee and continue to be,” said Edmunds said. “The fact that this award was initiated by artists and named after a woman who is held in such high esteem makes the honor a truly staggering one.”

For USA trustee and 2007 fellow Ann Hamilton, Edmunds’s “visionary leadership and sensibility has helped so many artists make their work possible.” “She has dedicated a career to building radically nimble structures that support artistic processes and invite the artist, presenter, and audience to move beyond the familiar and risk the unknowable.”

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