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The Vilcek Foundation

  (Redirected from Vilcek Prize)

The Vilcek Foundation raises awareness of immigrant contributions to the United States, and fosters appreciation of the arts and sciences.[2] The Foundation was established in 2000 by Jan and Marica Vilcek, immigrants from the former Czechoslovakia.[3] The mission of the Foundation was inspired by the couple's respective careers in biomedical science and art history, as well as their personal experiences and appreciation for the opportunities offered them as newcomers to the United States.[4] Through its prizes and other programs, the Vilcek Foundation publicizes the far-reaching influence of immigrants on the professional, academic, and artistic communities across the United States. The Foundation awards the annual Vilcek Prizes in the biomedical science and the arts and sponsors programs such as the Hawaii International Film Festival.[5]

Vilcek Foundation
FounderJan and Marica Vilcek
FocusArts, biomedical science, immigration
Key people
Jan Vilcek (Co-founder), Marica Vilcek(Co-founder), Rick Kinsel (President)
Revenue (2014)
Expenses (2014)$4,822,527[1]



Headquarters of the Vilcek Foundation in New York City

Vilcek PrizesEdit

The Vilcek Prizes are awarded to foreign-born individuals residing permanently in the United States, with a legacy of outstanding achievement in the arts and sciences. The Foundation awards two Vilcek Prizes annually, one in biomedical science and the other in the arts and humanities; the latter in a field designated annually by the Foundation, such as fine arts, architecture, music, filmmaking, culinary art, literature, dance, contemporary music, design, and fashion. Each prize consists of a $100,000 cash award and a commemorative sculpture designed by Austrian-born Stefan Sagmeister.[6]

Vilcek Prize for ExcellenceEdit

The Vilcek Prize for Excellence, introduced in 2019, recognizes immigrants whose contributions profoundly impact American society and world culture, or individuals who are champions for immigrant causes. The recipients receive a $100,000 cash award and a commemorative diploma also designed Stefan Sagmeister.

Vilcek Prizes for Creative PromiseEdit

The Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise are awarded to foreign-born individuals who have demonstrated outstanding achievement during the early stages of their careers. Like the Vilcek Prize, the Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise are awarded each year in the field of biomedical science and a selected art field. Creative Promise applicants are required to submit essays, personal statements, and examples of their work. To be eligible for the prize, applicants must have been born abroad, reside permanently in the United States, and be within the specified age limit. As of 2013, three prizes each will be awarded in biomedical science[7] and a designated art field.[8] Each recipient is awarded a $50,000 cash prize and a commemorative plaque.

New American FilmmakersEdit

Since 2007, the Vilcek Foundation has been a proud sponsor of the New American Filmmakers program. Curated and presented in collaboration with the Hawaii International Film Festival, the program seeks out the most talented foreign-born filmmakers currently contributing to American cinema. The result is a diverse program that draws upon cinematic genres and traditions from around the world.

Prize recipientsEdit

Vilcek PrizesEdit

Name Year Category Country of Birth
Angelika Amon[9]
2019 Biomedical Science Austria
Marcus Samuelsson[10] 2019 Culinary Arts Ethiopia
Alexander Rudensky[11]
2018 Biomedical Science Russia
Teddy Cruz[12] 2018 Architecture Guatemala
Lily Jan[13]
Yuh Nung Jan[14]
2017 Biomedical Science China
Nari Ward[15] 2017 Fine Arts Jamaica
Dan Littman[16] 2016 Biomedical Science Romania
Blanka Zizka[17] 2016 Theatre Czech Republic
Peter Walter[18] 2015 Biomedical Science Germany
Andrew Bolton[19] 2015 Fashion United Kingdom
Thomas Jessell[20] 2014 Biomedical Science United Kingdom
Neri Oxman[21] 2014 Design Israel
Richard Flavell[22]
Ruslan Medzhitov[22]
2013 Biomedical Science United Kingdom
Yo-Yo Ma[23] 2013 Contemporary Music France (to Chinese parents)
Carlos Bustamante[24] 2012 Biomedical Science Peru
Mikhail Baryshnikov[24] 2012 Dance Latvia (to Russian parents)
Titia de Lange[25] 2011 Biomedical Science Netherlands
Charles Simic[26] 2011 Literature Yugoslavia
Alexander Varshavsky[27] 2010 Biomedical Science Russia
José Andrés[28] 2010 Culinary Arts Spain
Huda Zoghbi[29] 2009 Biomedical Science Lebanon
Mike Nichols[30] 2009 Filmmaking Germany
Inder Verma[31] 2008 Biomedical Science India
Osvaldo Golijov[30] 2008 Music Argentina
Rudolf Jaenisch 2007 Biomedical Science Germany
Denise Scott Brown[32] 2007 Architecture Zambia
Joan Massagué[33] 2006 Biomedical Science Spain
Christo and Jeanne-Claude[30] 2006 Fine Art Bulgaria, Morocco (to French parents)

Vilcek Prizes for ExcellenceEdit

Name Year Category Country of Birth
Carmen C. Bambach[34]
2019 Art History and Museum Work Chile

Vilcek Prizes for Creative PromiseEdit

Name Year Category Country of Birth
Amit Choudhary 2019 Biomedical Science India
Jeanne T. Paz 2019 Biomedical Science Georgia
Mikhail G. Shapiro 2019 Biomedical Science Russia
Tejal Rao 2019 Culinary Arts United Kingdom
Fabian von Hauske Valtierra 2019 Culinary Arts Mexico
Nite Yun 2019 Culinary Arts Cambodia
Polina Anikeeva 2018 Biomedical Science Russia
Sergiu P. Pașca 2018 Biomedical Science Romania
Feng Zhang 2018 Biomedical Science China
Mona Ghandi 2018 Architecture Iran
James Leng 2018 Architecture China
Jing Liu 2018 Architecture China
Michaela Gack 2017 Biomedical Science Germany
Michael Halassa 2017 Biomedical Science Jordan
Ahmet Yildiz 2017 Biomedical Science Turkey
Iman Issa 2017 Fine Arts Egypt
Meleko Mokgosi 2017 Fine Arts Botswana
Carlos Motta 2017 Fine Arts Colombia
Fernando Camargo 2016 Biomedical Science Peru
Roberta Capp 2016 Biomedical Science Brazil
Houra Merrikh 2016 Biomedical Science Iran
Sarah Benson 2016 Theatre United Kingdom
Desdemona Chiang 2016 Theatre Taiwan
Yi Zhao 2016 Theatre China
Sun Hur 2015 Biomedical Science South Korea
Rob Knight 2015 Biomedical Science New Zealand
Franziska Michor 2015 Biomedical Science Austria
Siki Im 2015 Fashion Germany, to Korean parents
Natallia Pilipenka 2015 Fashion Belarus, to Ukrainian parents
Tuyen Tran 2015 Fashion Vietnam
Antonio Giraldez 2014 Biomedical Science Spain
Stavros Lomvardas 2014 Biomedical Science Greece
Pardis Sabeti 2014 Biomedical Science Iran
Yasaman Hashemian 2014 Design Iran
Mansour Ourasanah 2014 Design Togo
Quilian Riano 2014 Design Colombia
Hashim Al-Hashimi 2013 Biomedical Science Lebanon
Michael Rape 2013 Biomedical Science Germany
Joanna Wysocka 2013 Biomedical Science Poland
James Abrahart[23] 2013 Contemporary Music United Kingdom
Samuel Bazawule[23] 2013 Contemporary Music Ghana
Tigran Hamasyan[23] 2013 Contemporary Music Armenia
Alice Ting[35] 2012 Biomedical Science Taiwan
Michel Kouakou[24] 2012 Dance Ivory Coast
Yibin Kang[36] 2011 Biomedical Science China
Dinaw Mengestu[37] 2011 Literature Ethiopia
Harmit Malik[38] 2010 Biomedical Science India
Varin Keokitvon[39] 2010 Culinary Arts Laos
Howard Chang 2009 Biomedical Science Taiwan
Ham Tran[40] 2009 Filmmaking Vietnam

In 2013, the Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise were changed from recognizing one winner and four finalists to recognizing three winners in each category. The past finalists are listed below.

Name Year Category Country of Birth
Konrad Hochedlinger 2012 Biomedical Science Austria
Andreas Hochwagen 2012 Biomedical Science Austria
Songhai Shi 2012 Biomedical Science China
Benjamin tenOever 2012 Biomedical Science Canada
Fanny Ara 2012 Dance Spain
Thang Dao 2012 Dance Vietnam
Alice Gosti 2012 Dance Italy
Pontus Lidberg 2012 Dance Sweden
Katherine Fitzgerald 2011 Biomedical Science Ireland
Ekaterina Heldwein 2011 Biomedical Science Russia
Galit Lahav 2011 Biomedical Science Israel
Elina Zuniga 2011 Biomedical Science Argentina
Ilya Kaminsky 2011 Literature Ukraine
Tea Obreht 2011 Literature Serbia
Vu Tran 2011 Literature Vietnam
Simon Van Booy 2011 Literature Wales
Iannis Aifantis 2010 Biomedical Science Greece
Rustem Ismagilov 2010 Biomedical Science Russia
Vamsi Mootha 2010 Biomedical Science India
Jin Zhang 2010 Biomedical Science China
Michael Cheng 2010 Culinary Arts Malaysia
Yoshinori Ishii 2010 Culinary Arts Japan
Nandini Mukherjee 2010 Culinary Arts India
Boris Portnoy 2010 Culinary Arts Russia
Katerina Akassoglou 2009 Biomedical Science Greece
Evgeny Nudler 2009 Biomedical Science Russia
F. Nina Papavasiliou 2009 Biomedical Science Greece
Aviv Regev 2009 Biomedical Science Israel
Almudena Carracedo 2009 Film Spain
Amin Matalqa 2009 Film Jordan
Kirill Mikhanovsky 2009 Film Russia
Shih-Ching Tsou 2009 Film Taiwan

Art CollectionsEdit

The Vilcek Foundation holds several art collections that are promised gifts from founders Jan and Marica Vilcek. These collections include the Contemporary Art Collection,[41] a small but growing collection of works by contemporary immigrant artists; the American Modernism Collection,[42] which traces the development of artists such as Oscar Bluemner, Ralston Crawford, Stuart Davis, and Marsden Hartley, as well as the movement as a whole; and the Native American Pottery Collection,[43] which consists primarily of objects by Acoma, Hopi, Cochiti, Kewa, Tesuque, Zia, and Zuni potters, dating from the 19th and 20th centuries; and the Pre-Columbian Collection,[44] which features objects from across the pre-Columbian world, with an emphasis on the art of Mesoamerica.

Cultural events and exhibitionsEdit

Past events and exhibitionsEdit

The Vilcek Foundation is located in a landmark, Beaux Arts-style renovated carriage house in New York City's Upper East Side, which serves as both its headquarters and gallery space. The Foundation hosts exhibitions and events featuring the work of immigrant artists, designers, filmmakers, and others, many of whom have yet to achieve critical or financial success.[45]

Exhibition/Event Type of Event Year Participant(s) Participant's Country of Birth
Brian Doan: hôme hôme hôme[46] Mixed-media Installation 2013 Brian Doan Vietnam
Pivotal Works: The Vilcek Foundation Project[47] Series of Dance performances 2012 Michel Kouakou
Fanny Ara
Thang Dao
Alice Gosti
Pontus Lidberg
Ivory Coast
I Am Your Mirror[48] Photography, Mixed-media Installation 2012 O Zhang China
Almost Undone[49] Mixed-media Installation 2011 Nicole Awai Trinidad
String Theater[50] Concert 2011 Mari Kimura Japan
The New Vernacular: Immigrant Authors in American Literature[37] Literature Reading 2011 Dinaw Mengestu
Ilya Kaminsky
Téa Obreht
Vu Tran
Simon Van Booy
Liesl Schillinger (host)
United Kingdom
Caring and Advocating for Torture Survivors[51] Lecture 2011 Allen Keller (Lecturer)
Samten Dapka
Cheikhna Mahawa

Senbazuru[52] Mixed-media Installation 2010 Toshiko Nishikawa Japan
Transparency[53] Fashion Presentation 2010 Madina Vadache Russia
The Vilcek Foundation Celebrates LOST[54] Photography Installation, Exhibition of Original Props[55] 2010 24 Immigrant and First Generation Cast and Crew of ABC's LOST[56]
Brazil, Chile, China, Cuba, England, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Panama, Poland, South Africa, Philippines, South Korea, Tonga
Circumplex[57] Video Art Installation 2009 Kai-Duc Luong Cambodia
enTANGOed[58] Concert 2009 Peter Breiner Slovakia
Mephistophelean Exhibition of Sculpture 2009 Ryo Toyanaga Japan
Japanese Art Today: Takashi Murakami and "Superflat" in Context[59] Lecture 2009 Eleanor Heartney
Why 1960's Japanese Art? Global Implications for Contemporary Art History[60] Lecture 2009 Reiko Tomii Japan
Asian American Artist and the Transmission of the East to the American Avant-Garde[61] Lecture 2009 Alexandra Munroe
American Immigrant Filmmakers on Profile[62] Film Screening 2008 Sarab Neelam
Sielu Avea
Stephane Gauger
Kai-Duc Luong
Christine Choy
Sherwood Hu
The Gatekeeper of Emmyoin[63] Film Screening 2008 Reiko Tahara
Max Uesugi
Il Lee and Pouran Jinchi: Curated by Art Projects International[64] Exhibition of paintings and drawings 2008 Il Lee
Pouran Jinchi
South Korea


The dARTboard was an online art space developed to celebrate the achievements of foreign-born artists working in the realm of digital art, running from 2012 to 2014.[65]

Each year's featured artist was chosen from a pool of applicants for the annual dARTboard Call for Entries in Digital Art, first opened in July 2011. Every cycle, applicants were invited to submit their digital artworks for consideration. Eligible applicants must be foreign-born and reside permanently in the U.S. The chosen artist, selected by an expert juror, was invited to exhibit his or her work on the dARTboard at the start of the following year. Each featured artist received a $5,000 honorarium. In 2014, three artists were chosen for a three-way tie, and each artist was awarded a $5,000 honorarium.[66]

Featured artist Year Exhibited work Participant's Country of Birth
Irina Danilova[67] 2012 City Drawings, Constellations Ukraine
Marc Böhlen[68] 2013 WaterBar, MakeLanguage Switzerland
Nicholas Hanna[69] 2014 Bubble Device, #2 Canada
Ha Na Lee[70] 2014 Vestiges, Part II South Korea
Fernando Orellana[71] 2014 Shadoes El Salvador


American Odysseys: Writings by New AmericansEdit

American Odysseys is an anthology of twenty-two novelists, poets, and short story writers. Among the featured writers are Ethiopian-born Dinaw Mengestu, the recipient of the 2011 Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Literature; Yugoslavian-born Téa Obreht, the youngest author to receive the Orange Prize in Fiction; and Chinese-born Yiyun Li, a MacArthur Genius grantee. The foreword is by U.S. Poet Laureate Charles Simic, the winner of the 2011 Vilcek Prize for Literature. A private, hard copy edition was first published in January 2012, and a trade paperback edition was released by Dalkey Archive Press on May 2, 2013.[72][73]

Masterpieces of American Modernism: From the Vilcek Collection

Masterpieces of American Modernism: From the Vilcek CollectionEdit

Masterpieces of American Modernism: From the Vilcek Collection, features ninety-eight paintings, works on paper and sculptures by twenty artists - including Stuart Davis, Arthur Dove, Marsden Hartley, Georgia O'Keeffe and Max Weber. William C. Agee contributed the book's introduction and Lewis Kachur wrote individual entries on each work. In addition to tracing the evolution of individual artists and the movement as a whole, the book explores developments within American Modernism, such as Synchromism and Color Abstraction, American Cubism, and the influence of the landscape and culture of the Southwest (an issue that is explored in depth in the book's Illustrated Timeline). The Collection also highlights the contributions of immigrant artists – eight of the twenty artists were born outside the United States. The book is prefaced by a collector's statement from Ján Vilček and Marica Vilcek and has contributions by The Vilcek Foundation's President, Rick Kinsel, and Associate Curator, Emily Schuchardt Navratil.


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