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Jennifer Tipton Honored With MacArthur Prize

The honors continue to pour in for celebrated lighting designer Jennifer Tipton. On September 23, she was named one of only 25 new MacArthur Fellows for 2008 by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Ms. Tipton was honored as a stage lighting designer who is “pushing the visible boundaries of her art form with painterly lighting that evokes mood and sculpts movement in dance, drama, and opera.”  She will receive $500,000 over the next five years, with “no strings attached.”

Her use of white light in theatre and dance was especially noted, as was the range of her artistry for both small and large productions, and her influence as a teacher. “As a committed teacher, Ms. Tipton has influenced a generation of lighting designers, and her dramatic imagination continues to push the visual boundaries of lighting design in new and exciting directions.” She has been an adjunct professor of lighting design at the Yale University School of Drama since 1994.

Ms. Tipton has been part of USITT’s Annual Conference & Stage Expo several times, including presentations in Boston in 1991 and Pittsburgh in 1997 that are still remembered vividly by those who were present. She was the lighting designer for the United States exhibit at the 1987 Prague Quadrennial. That entry won the prestigious Golden Triga award, the highest honor for a PQ entry. As part of the USITT PQ 1987 Steering Committee, she received the USITT Award in 1990. She received the USITT Award in 2002 as an individual.

A list of Ms. Tipton’s honors also includes the 2001 Lillian and Dorothy Gish Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, two Tonys for The Cherry Orchard and Jerome Robbins’ Broadway, a Drama-Logue Award, two American Theatre Wing Awards, an Obie, and two Drama Desk Awards.

She received the Commonwealth Award in Dramatic Arts, a National Endowment for the Arts Theater Program Distinguished Artist Award, and a grant from the National Theatre Artist Residency Program funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Her lighting for dance has included many performances by the American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, Twyla Tharp Dance, and the Paul Taylor Dance Company.

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Jennifer Tipton

Photo/Courtesy John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation