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McKnight Distinguished Artist Award

Recognizing the artists and culture bearers who have made significant lifelong contributions to Minnesota, enriching our communities.

The annual $100,000 McKnight Distinguished Artist Award recognizes artists and culture bearers who have made a lifelong commitment to creating art that is locally, regionally, and/or nationally significant.

These artists have chosen to make their lives and careers in Minnesota, thereby making our state a more culturally rich place. First and foremost, they have produced creatively incisive art reflecting their particular and extraordinary point of view.

McKnight Distinguished Artists have also inspired other artists and culture bearers, earned acclaim from audiences, patrons, critics, and other arts professionals, and some have founded and strengthened arts organizations.


at a Glance

1Artist every year

25Artists since 1998

$1.3MIn awards

2021 distinguished artist

Douglas R. Ewart

Known as a master multi-instrumentalist musician and composer, Ewart is also widely recognized as an instrument maker, sound sculptor, painter, writer, and teacher. His renowned interdisciplinary work includes performance on a vast range of saxophones, flutes, woodwinds, and percussion instruments of his own design and construction.