Mentors named for next class in Rolex arts initiative

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Mentors named for next class in Rolex arts initiative
Acclaimed artists El Anatsui, Bernardine Evaristo, Jia Zhang-Ke, Anne Lacaton and Dianne Reeves have chosen younger artists of outstanding accomplishment from across the world as their protégés in the new cycle of the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative.

by Roslyn Sulcas

NEW YORK, NY.- Ghanaian-born visual artist El Anatsui, British writer Bernardine Evaristo, Chinese filmmaker Jia Zhangke, French architect Anne Lacaton and American jazz singer Dianne Reeves are the new mentors in the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative, a program started by Rolex in 2002 to foster new generations of outstanding talent.

The names of the new mentors and their protégés, who will collaborate for two years, were announced Friday at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York, where the Arts Initiative is celebrating the culmination of its current program cycle. This cycle included Lin-Manuel Miranda, the first mentor in a recently added open category to incorporate multidisciplinary artists.

The protégés are architect Arine Aprahamian, writer Ayesha Harruna Attah, visual artist Bronwyn Katz, filmmaker Rafael Manuel, and singer and composer Song Yi Jeon. The protégés each receive a stipend of about $41,000 in addition to funds for travel and expenses.

The new group of mentors and protégés hail “from nine different countries in Asia, Africa, North America, Europe and the Middle East,” Rebecca Irvin, head of philanthropy at Rolex, said in an email. “And their artistic work reflects many of the most pressing issues of our day, including sustainability, diversity and social change.”

Evaristo, who wrote in a statement that she had her eye on the program “ever since Toni Morrison was a mentor 20 years ago,” said that the “very close and personal attention” that the protégé receives is very different than attending workshops or writing courses. “It might also involve career guidance and personal development, as well as opening up conversations around creativity and society, and looking to other art forms for inspiration,” she said.

Twenty years after it began, the Arts Initiative, which calls on influential advisers to select the mentors and protégés, now has a boldface list of alumni, including David Adjaye, Alfonso Cuarón, Brian Eno, Lara Foot, Stephen Frears, Nicholas Hlobo, David Hockney, Joan Jonas, Anish Kapoor, Spike Lee, Mira Nair, Crystal Pite and Tracy K. Smith.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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