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Herb Alpert and the Arts: A Man on a Mission


A quarter century and $175 million dollars later, Herb Alpert remains one of the arts most loyal supporters

LOS ANGELES (PRWEB) March 05, 2019

25 years ago, legendary musician, philanthropist and artist Herb Alpert witnessed the gradual decline of funding for the arts in America. As budgets disappeared, emerging artists lost what had been a cornerstone of American culture and education - music instruction and funding for independent projects.

Alpert, a pioneering music icon with nine Grammys, 72 million albums sold and co-founder of A&M Records - the most successful independent record label in history – is famous in the music industry for getting things done. When Alpert decided to do something about the funding crisis, artists found a new champion.

Speaking on his passion for arts education, Alpert explained, "I was a very shy eight year old. I went to this music class and they had a table filled with instruments. I picked up a trumpet. As I learned to play, I began to realize that the trumpet could do my talking for me – it was saying what I couldn't get out of my mouth. Obviously it transformed my life and that's why I'm so excited about kids having this same type of opportunity."

A quarter century and more than $175 million dollars later, Herb Alpert remains one of America's most important and loyal supporters of the arts and arts education.

Not only did Herb Alpert and his Grammy-winning vocalist wife Lani Hall, create the Herb Alpert Foundation in the 1980's to invest in arts focused organizations, but they also established the Herb Alpert Award in the Arts in 1994.

The Award is presented annually to five risk-taking, mid-career artists. Over 125 artists have received the unrestricted cash prize ($75,000) in the five categories of Dance, Film/Video, Music, Theatre and Visual Arts over the past 25 years.

"I've always loved the artists that traveled the road less traveled…those are the artists that touch me." -Herb Alpert

Past winners include: Suzan-Lori Parks, Catherine Opie, Carrie Mae Weems, Vijay Iyer, Taylor Mac, Tania Bruguera, Okwui Okpokwasili, Derek Bermel and Michelle Dorrance. It is worth noting that these prominent artists were all recognized with the Alpert Award prior to their MacArthurs, Grammys and Pulitzers. The impact of this award on mid-career, risk-taking artists has been immeasurable.

"Far more than the money, was that somehow, in that year, a few people said that what you do really matters. And that was enough to propel me forward."
-Victoria Marks, Alpert Award Winner in Dance 1997.

May 13, 2019 in New York city will mark the celebration of 25 years of the Herb Alpert Awards and a chance to honor the 125 winners and the tireless work of the hundreds of prominent panelists from the five disciplines. As Herb Alpert, past winners and panelists take a moment to reflect on how many lives this award has impacted, a new group of five winners will carry the torch for another year.

About Herb Alpert

Herb Alpert is a musician, record producer and executive, sculptor, painter and philanthropist. His albums have sold over 72 million copies, and 29 of his records have reached the Billboard 200. Billboard also listed Alpert as #7 on their Greatest Of All Time Billboard 200 Artists. He co-founded A&M Records with Jerry Moss in 1962 turning it into one of the most successful independent record labels in history. In 2012 Alpert was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama and inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006.

In 2010 Herb Alpert and his Foundation came to the rescue of the Harlem School of the Arts as the doors were about to be closed for good. Now, with a new board of directors and management, the school is flourishing and a beacon for kids all around the NY area. "If you want to see a feel good program---check it out," says Herb Alpert.

About the Herb Alpert Award in the Arts

The Herb Alpert Award in the Arts is an unrestricted prize of $75,000 given annually to five, risk-taking, mid-career artists working in the fields of dance, film/video, music, theatre and the visual arts. The prize was initiated and funded by the Herb Alpert Foundation and has been administered by the California Institute of the Arts since 1994. The Award honors and supports artists respected for their creativity, ingenuity, and bodies of work, at a moment in their lives when they are poised to propel their art in new and unpredictable directions. The Herb Alpert Award recognizes experimenters who are making something that matters within and beyond their field.

About The Herb Alpert Foundation

The Herb Alpert Foundation envisions a world in which all young people are blessed with opportunities that allow them to reach their potential and lead productive and fulfilling lives. Over the past few years, the Foundation has focused on core areas, such as "The Arts," a broad category that includes arts education, a focus on jazz, and support to professionals. This also includes programs that seek to use the arts to help meet the needs of underserved youth and to help build competencies that will enable them to become successful adults. The other core area is "Compassion and Well-Being," which celebrates the positive aspects of human psychology and seeks to bring more empathy and compassionate behavior into our society. Please note: the Foundation does not accept unsolicited proposals.

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