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Nominations due for 2015 McKnight Distinguished Artist

February 23, 2015 - Nominations due for 2015 Distinguished Artist Award

The McKnight Foundation invites nominations for its 18th Distinguished Artist Award, in recognition of individual artists with enduring and exceptional careers. Nominations for the $50,000 award must be received by March 31, 2015.

The award honors one artist each year for having made a substantial impact on the arts in Minnesota over a lifetime. A panel representing a variety of artistic disciplines considers first and foremost the quality of nominated artists’ work. Other considerations include the artist’s commitment to his or her field, and ways the artist has enriched life for audiences and the community. The panel formally recommends one candidate to McKnight’s board of directors. 

Artists in all disciplines—including ceramics, dance, film, literature, music, theater, and visual arts—whose careers have made a substantial impact on the arts in Minnesota may be nominated. Artists must have worked in Minnesota over a span of decades, although they need not reside in Minnesota when nominated. Those from Minnesota who achieved their primary successes elsewhere, however, are not eligible. No one may receive the award more than once. No posthumous awards will be made. 

If you know of an artist that meets these criteria, we invite you to send your nomination via email to Kristen Marx, arts program administrator, at All submitted nominations are retained. Candidates who have not received the award will be considered again among nominees in subsequent years.

For more information about the award, click here or call the Foundation at 612‑333‑4220.

Previous awardees:

  • 2014: Sandy Spieler, visual artist and performer
  • 2013: Wendy Lehr, theater artist
  • 2012: John Caddy,poet
  • 2011: Ranee Ramaswamy, dance artist
  • 2010: Siah Armajani, sculptor
  • 2009: Bain Boehlke, theater artist
  • 2008: Bill Holm,writer
  • 2007: Kinji Akagawa, sculptor
  • 2006: Lou Bellamy, theater artist
  • 2005: Judy Onofrio, sculptor
  • 2004: Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, conductor and composer
  • 2003: Mike Lynch, visual artist
  • 2002: Emilie Buchwald, writer, editor, and publisher
  • 2001: Dale Warland, choral music conductor and composer
  • 2000: Robert Bly, poet, translator, writer, and editor
  • 1999: Warren MacKenzie, potter
  • 1998: Dominick Argento, composer

About The McKnight Foundation

The McKnight Foundation, a Minnesota-based family foundation, seeks to improve the quality of life for present and future generations. Founded in 1953 and independently endowed by William and Maude McKnight, the foundation had assets of approximately $2.2 billion and granted about $88 million in 2014. Learn more at, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.