The Herb Alpert Foundation hosted its 20th annual luncheon and award ceremony in Santa Monica on Friday, May 9. Every year, the Herb Alpert Award in the Arts is given to five mid-career and risk-taking artists, each of whom represent one of five different categories: dance, film/video, music, theatre, and the visual arts. The prize of $75,000 is given to artists who have proven their creativity and ingenuity through their bodies of work.
Herb Alpert has had a special connection to the arts since he was in his music appreciation class in grammar school.
“There’s something magical about all the arts. Great artists are like magicians. They create things out of their imaginations,” Alpert said.
As a successful, seasoned veteran in the arts himself, the concept behind the Herb Alpert Award in the Arts sparked alongside Alpert’s desire to help others who have not had the same opportunities as him. He values those who have genuine, sincere love for the arts.
“I admire artists that follow their passion, those who aren’t thinking about being commercial,” Alpert said.
There have been 100 artists recognized by the Herb Alpert Foundation over the past two decades.
Held in a well-lit, spacious living room on the top floor of the Herb Alpert Foundation, this year’s annual luncheon fostered a contemporary, close-knit environment, where the award winners and panelists conversed about their respective works before the meal was served.
One of the award recipients, Michelle Dorrance, was the winner of the dance category. Specializing in tap dance, Dorrance is excited for the development of her work.
“Tap dance is at a very exciting place right now. There is a lot of exploration going on in terms of technique,” Dorrance said.
Receiving this award has enabled her to push forward with even more energy and passion. She also plans on seeking out artists that also want to move tap dance forward in more innovative ways.
“I also plan on training more and growing personally,” she said.
As far as future plans go, Dorrance plans to develop a show that aims to communicate tap’s relevance to both music and dance culture.
In the film/video realm, the award recipient was Deborah Stratman.
“The common thread between all my works is that it stems from a curiosity,” Stratman said.
Her films have roots in documentary-style productions, which emphasize more of a narrative, story-telling method of art. However, her works range from essayistic productions to poetic and lyrical project.
Stratman is grateful that due to this award, she can afford more time and think more grandiose about her next project. She is also able to make everyday changes to her lifestyle, as she joked that she could “finally buy a better coffee grinder” with the award money.
Though she is primarily known as a filmmaker, Stratman has also explored other films of multimedia. She also teaches classes in filmmaking, sound design, and art theory.
One of the panelists, Kimerer LaMothe, who assisted in the decision-making process behind the Herb Alpert Award, elaborated on the criteria that the judges based their choices on. LaMothe is a dancer, philosopher, and a scholar of religion from New York.
“We focused on impact,” LaMothe said. “We looked for someone who could be impacted by this award and could in turn do some impacting as well.”
LaMothe raved about the illuminating discussion that generated between her and the rest of the panelists, who all came from different artistic backgrounds.
“It was such a pleasure to give such an award to someone who really deserves the money,” LaMothe said.
Since 1994, the artists selected by the Herb Alpert Award panelists have gone on to pursue and continue notable careers. From the panelists to the recipients to Herb Alpert himself, it is clear that those involved with this award all possess a genuine passion for the arts and strive to help out and team up with those who share the same love.
For more information, visit herbalpertfoundation.org.