A New York City-based artist who works on transforming abandoned psychiatric institutions into memorials with art (such as Northampton State Hospital in Massachusetts) won a MacArthur “Genius Award” of $500,000.

Anna Schuleit, artist

from Chronicle of Philanthropy – 19 September 2006

MacArthur Foundation Names Recipients of ‘Genius Awards’

By Marty Michaels

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, in Chicago, on Tuesday announced the 25 recipients

The fellowships, often referred to as “the genius awards,” recognize people in a broad range of disciplines who show exceptional creativity and the potential for continued innovative work.

Each award provides $500,000 over five years and comes with no stipulations, allowing each fellow to use the money as he or she sees fit. No one may apply for the MacArthur Fellowships. Each year the foundation chooses several hundred people from diverse fields who serve anonymously as nominators. A 12-member selection committee then recommends final candidates to the foundation’s Board of Directors.

“Anna Schuleit, 32, artist, New York. Her installation piecescommemorate the lives of patients in mental-health institutions bytransforming abandoned facilities into memorials that incorporatemusic, flowers, and other elements.”

Including the recipients announced today, the foundation has named a total of 732 fellows since the program’s inception in 1981. Recipients must be U.S. citizens or residents and may not be elected officials or hold high government positions.

Sixteen of the new fellows work for academic institutions or other nonprofit groups, including two nonprofit officials whose work harnesses cutting-edge technology to aid poor people.

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