Herb Alpert Award in the Arts

Online Artist Monographs: Honoring the winners of the Herb Alpert Award in the Arts

Awards: Communication Arts: Webpick, Interactive Media Awards: “Best of Show”


The Alpert Award is an unrestricted prize of $75,000 given annually to five risk-taking mid-career artists working in the fields of dance, film/video, music, theatre and the visual arts. The prize was initiated and funded by the Herb Alpert Foundation and has been administered by California Institute of the Arts since 1994.

In 2010 and again in 2011 Irene Borger, the director of the Herb Alpert Award in the Arts, asked me to create their website.

Marc Bamuthi Joseph AAIA11 Theater Award Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Interior page 1 Emily Jacir, 2011 Alpert Award, Visual Arts Emily Jacir, Interior page 1 Jess Curtis, 2011 Alpert Award, Dance Jess Curtis, Interior page 1


How to honor the artists and their work? Together we conceived the idea of turning the traditional website into something a bit more risk-taking, in the spirit of the awards themselves – artist monographs – a critical and more dynamic way to learn about and engage with the artist’s work. I also urged Irene, who is a powerful writer and critical thinker, to have a greater voice on the site.

I reached out to San Diego design firm, Digitaria, with whom I had worked frequently. Daiga Atvara, Digitaria’s Creative Director, Paul Drohan, their designer, and Robin Kadfalk, project manager, joined us.

The form of the collaboration: Irene (editor, interviewer & writer), Digitaria (web/mobile design & development), the artists (their work & influences) and me, (producer/wrangler & original video).


The 2011 award recipients were:  Natalia Almada (Film/Video), Jess Curtis (Dance), Emily Jacir (Visual Art), Marc Bamuthi Joseph (Theatre) and Nicole Mitchell (Music).

The 2010 award recipients were: Rachel Harrison (Visual Arts), Lukas Ligeti (Music), Susan Rethorst (Dance), Bill Talen (Theatre), Jim Trainor (Film/Video).

These online artist monographs, designed in particular for mobile devices, are quintessentially creative collaborations among artists, designers, writers and producers – an exuberant coupling of the visual and performing arts with integral critical writing, design and experimentation.