Governor Cuomo Congratulates MacArthur Fellows Program-Winning Genius Grant Recipients from New York

Nine New Yorkers Honored for their Creativity and Achievements.

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Albany, NY - September 26, 2013 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today congratulated nine New York State residents who were recently awarded Fellowships from the MacArthur Fellows Program. The award, also known as a “genius grant,” is a prize awarded annually by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to U.S. citizens or residents of any age, working in any field, who “show exceptional merit and promise for continued and enhanced creative work.” This year, a total of 24 individuals from the fields of education, science, civics and the arts were awarded grants.

“This year, the MacArthur Fellows Program has recognized nine talented individuals from New York,” said Governor Cuomo. “New York is proud to be home to emerging talent from a wide range of fields – a reality that is demonstrated by the fact that more than a third of this year’s MacArthur genius grant recipients are from the Empire State. It is my pleasure to congratulate these remarkable men and women who continue to push the boundaries of success in their respective fields.”


According to the MacArthur Foundation, the fellowship is not a reward for past accomplishment, but rather, an investment in a person’s originality, insight, and potential. The prize is $625,000 paid over five years in quarterly installments to each winner. The nine MacArthur Fellows Program Genius Grant awardees from New York State are:


  • Kyle Abraham, from New York City, is a choreographer and dancer who explores the confluence of personal history and identity.
  • Donald Antrim, from New York City, teaches writing at Columbia University and is being recognized for both his fiction and nonfiction work.
  • Jeremy Denk, from New York City, is a writer and concert pianist who combines his skills to help readers and listeners to better appreciate classical music.
  • Craig Fennie, from Ithaca, is a materials scientist at Cornell University who has designed new materials with electrical, optical and magnetic properties needed for electronics and communication technology.
  • Vijay Iyer, from New York City, is a jazz pianist, composer, bandleader and writer who is re-conceptualizing the genre through compositions for his ensembles, as well as cross-disciplinary collaborations and scholarly writing.
  • Sheila Nirenberg, from New York City, is a neuroscientist at Weill Cornell Medical College who is exploring the nervous system and creating new prosthetic devices and robots.
  • Alexei Ratmansky, from New York City, is a choreographer and artist-in-residence at the American Ballet Theatre who is revitalizing classical ballet with interpretations of traditional works and original pieces.
  • Karen Russell, from New York City, is a fiction writer and author of the novel "Swamplandia" whose work blends fantastical elements with psychological realism.
  • Carrie Mae Weems, from Syracuse, is a photographer and video artist who examines African-American identity, class and culture in the United States.