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Wein Prize

The Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize, one of the most significant awards given to individual artists in the United States today, was established in 2006 by jazz impresario, musician and philanthropist George Wein to honor his late wife, Joyce Alexander (1928–2005), a long-time Trustee of the Studio Museum and a woman whose life embodied a commitment to the power and possibilities of art and culture. Presented each year at the Studio Museum’s fall Gala, the award recognizes and honors the artistic achievements of an African-American artist who demonstrates great innovation, promise, and creativity.

Throughout her life, Joyce was deeply involved with philanthropy and the arts. Together, Joyce and George created a brilliant collection of African-American art dating from the 1920s to the 1990s, which was shown publicly for the first time at the Boston University Art Gallery just a few months after Joyce’s passing. Journalist Ed Bradley noted in the catalogue accompanying the exhibition that to his friends Joyce and George, “Collecting art was like collecting knowledge.” But the arts were far from the only beneficiaries of Joyce’s generosity. She and George established the Joyce and George Wein Chair in African American Studies at Boston University (George’s alma mater). The Alexander Family Endowed Scholarship Fund at Simmons College, from which Joyce graduated as a chemistry major, followed. Joyce was also a founder of the New York Coalition of 100 Black Women.

Envisioned as an extension of the Studio Museum’s mission to support experimentation and excellence in contemporary art, the Prize includes an unrestricted monetary award of $50,000. On October 26, 2020, The Studio Museum in Harlem was proud to announce filmmaker and multimedia artist Cauleen Smith as the fifteenth recipient of this prestigious award.

Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize winners:
2020 Cauleen Smith
2019 Torkwase Dyson
2018 Diedrick Brackens
2017 Simone Leigh
2016 Derrick Adams
2015 Njideka Akunyili Crosby
2014 Samuel Levi Jones
2013 Gary Simmons
2012 Jennie C. Jones
2011 Leonardo Drew
2010 Leslie Hewitt
2009 Glenn Ligon
2008 Nadine Robinson
2007 Trenton Doyle Hancock
2006 Lorna Simpson