Created in 1994 by musician Herb Alpert in partnership with the California Institute of the Arts, the unrestricted prize of $75,000 — a 50 percent increase over past years — is administered by the institute and awarded annually to five artists in the fields of dance, film, music, theater, and the visual arts. The awardees are selected by panels of prominent critics, artists, and arts administrators.
Known for his Grammy-winning trumpet playing, Alpert established the national award to counter cuts in public funding of the arts and the resulting limitations on artistic freedom, as well as to recognize and support socially responsive artists. For the first time since the award's inception, one city — New York — is home to all five winners. They are dance-maker and performer Jeanine Durning; composer, performer, and improviser Mark Feldman; experimental video-maker and new media artist Jacqueline Goss; musician, performance artist, and storyteller Cynthia Hopkins; and videographer, photographer, and performance artist Walid Raad.
"The  winners are wildly independent experimenters who think about and respond to the world beyond their studio walls," said Alpert. "As artists driven more by their individual visions and passions than by what is safe or trendy, they are truly challenging art, their own disciplines, and society as a whole."
For more information on the recipients, visit the foundation's Web site.