On October 26, the Studio Museum in Harlem celebrated the Tenth Annual Wein Prize at its annual gala, bestowing this year’s Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize award to Njideka Akunyili Crosby.
The Wein 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, 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. The $50,000 award recognizes and honors the artistic achievements of an African-American artist who demonstrates great promise and creativity.
“The Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize, now in its tenth year, is an amazing opportunity to provide meaningful support to an African-American artist of great innovation and promise,” said Director and Chief Curator Thelma Golden. “Selecting Njideka Akunyili Crosby this year was especially meaningful, as she is an alumna of our signature Artist-in-Residence program and truly represents the global nature of the Studio Museum’s mission and reach. Her work embodies the ideals of innovation and promise that were so important to Joyce Alexander Wein. George Wein’s support of the prize is a fitting tribute to his late wife Joyce Alexander Wein and an incredible force in the lives of the artists who have received it.”
A native of Nigeria, Akunyili Crosby received her BA from Swarthmore College (2004) and her MFA from Yale University School of Art (2011). Akunyili Crosby’s work is informed by her Nigerian heritage, contemporary postcolonial African cosmopolitanism and her life in the United States.