“I’m honored to have been chosen to lead this incredible organization,” said Haggag. “USA’s mission is more important now than ever. USA Fellows embody the creativity, passion, diversity, and talent of this country, and the incredible heights American artists are capable of. It will be a privilege to support them in their future efforts, and to celebrate what they’ve already accomplished.”
Haggag has been the Executive Director of The Contemporary, a nomadic, non-collecting art museum based in Baltimore, MD, since 2013. Prior to that she was the Curator-in-Residence at Baltimore’s Gallery CA. In addition to her work at The Contemporary, Deana lectures extensively, consults on various public art initiatives, contributes to cultural publications, and teaches at institutions such as Towson University and Johns Hopkins University.
Haggag’s appointment comes as USA nears completion of its $20 million operations endowment campaign. The endowment consists of an initial 5-year, $10 million challenge grant from the Ford Foundation, which has been matched by million-dollar grants from The Rockefeller Foundation, The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Barr Foundation, Stavros Niarchos Foundation, and private giving.
“It’s an exciting time for USA; all the more so with Deana coming on board,” says USA Board Chairman Steven Oliver. “The continued growth of both our financial and human resources represents not only the tremendous success USA has had thus far, but also the role it will play going forward. This promises to be an uncertain time for the support of the arts. I can’t think of anyone more committed, eager, or prepared than Deana to lead USA in this endeavor.”
USA’s most recent class of 46 Fellows, announced in November, work across nine creative disciplines, and each of them will receive unrestricted $50,000 cash awards. The awards honor their creative accomplishments and support their ongoing artistic and professional development. The 2016 Fellowships mark a decade of support from USA, which with this new class will have given out almost $25 million since its inception in 2006. USA Fellowships are awarded to artists at all stages of their careers and from all areas of the country through a rigorous nomination and panel selection process. Fellowships are given in the following disciplines: Architecture & Design, Crafts, Dance, Literature, Media, Music, Theater & Performance, Traditional Arts, and Visual Arts.
The Fellowships allow artists to use the unrestricted funds for whatever they need most, and so to take risks and push their careers forward. Among past awardees are film director Barry Jenkins, composer David Lang, novelist Annie Proulx, playwright David Henry Hwang, choreographer Bill T. Jones, and visual artist Kara Walker.
USA will hold its annual Artist Assembly in celebration of its 2016 Fellows, and the 10th anniversary of the inception of the program, in Chicago, March 27-29, 2017. The Assembly includes performances, artist presentations, and opportunities for artists to give back by partnering with local not-for-profit organizations, community arts organizations, and schools that serve young art students.