CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Jennifer Monson, a professor of dance at the University of Illinois, has been awarded a Doris Duke Impact Award. The honor includes an unrestricted multiyear cash grant of $60,000, plus up to $10,000 for audience development and another $10,000 for creative exploration during what are usually retirement years, according to the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.
Monson - a choreographer and performer who specializes in experimental dance - is known for "BIRD BRAIN," a project following the migratory paths of birds and gray whales for five years (2000-2005); the "Mahomet Aquifer Project" (2009), a series of public dance performances, panel discussions and workshops; and most recently, "Live Dancing Archive," named Best Dance of 2013 by Time Out New York. She is the founder and artistic director of iLAND-interdisciplinary Laboratory for Art Nature and Dance.
Monson has received a Guggenheim Fellowship (2003) and multiple choreography fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts. She received two New York Dance and Performance Awards ("Bessies") - one for sustained achievement in the dance field (1997) and one for "BIRD BRAIN."
"Impact" awards are a new honor created by the foundation, which also bestows about 20 Doris Duke Artist Awards annually to artists who have previously won at least three designated national accolades during the preceding decade. This year, the Doris Duke Foundation asked Artist Award recipients to nominate people who are influential in their fields but may not be eligible for Doris Duke Artist Awards. An anonymous panel of artists selected 20 of the nominees to receive Impact Awards. Tere R. O'Connor, another Illinois dance professor, received a Doris Duke Artist Award in 2013.