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Museum of Arts and Design Announces Finalists for 2021 Burke Prize Honoring Excellence in Contemporary Craft

Winner of the Museum’s $50,000 biennial prize will be announced on October 21

Finalists Showcased in Online Exhibition
Story Makers: Burke Prize 2021
September 17, 2021 – March 20, 2022

New York, NY (September 17, 2021)

The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) is proud to announce the sixteen finalists for the 2021 Burke Prize, the Museum’s biennial award honoring excellence in contemporary craft. The artists are the focus of a new interactive exhibition, Story Makers: Burke Prize 2021, created for an online world and now open for exploration at

Established in 2018, the Burke Prize honors exceptional artists, age 45 or under working in the United States, whose highly accomplished work is conceptually rigorous, relevant, and pushes the boundaries of materials and creative processes. A juried selection from more than 400 applicants, the winner of the unrestricted $50,000 prize will be announced on October 21 at MAD Ball, the Museum’s fall benefit gala.

The 2021 Burke Prize finalists are:

Melissa Cody, Long Beach, CA
Rachelle Dang, Brooklyn, NY
Daniel Fishkin, Brooklyn, NY
Coulter Fussell, Water Valley, MS
Nicki Green, San Francisco, CA
Sabrina Gschwandtner, Los Angeles, CA
Ilana Harris-Babou, Brooklyn, NY
Hugh Hayden, Bronx, NY
Diane Meyer, Los Angeles, CA
Jovencio de la Paz, Eugene, OR
Macon Reed, Kingston, NY
Erin M. Riley, Brooklyn, NY
LJ Roberts, Brooklyn, NY
Clarissa Tossin, Brooklyn, NY
Charisse Pearlina Weston, Brooklyn, NY
Maryam Yousif, Brooklyn, NY

“This year’s cohort are all multidisciplinary artists distinguished by their exceptionally rich body of work and deserving of worldwide attention,” said Elissa Auther, MAD’s Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs and William and Mildred Lasdon Chief Curator. “Story makers who are also risk takers, they challenge us to consider critically and feel viscerally where we have been and where we are going.”

The online exhibition Story Makers: Burke Prize 2021 shows how these artists are crafting material narratives in tune with an ever-changing world. Designed by the San Francisco-based creative agency Godfrey Dadich Partners, the multimedia interactive website invites visitors to experience each artist’s body of work through the eyes of its creator.

Fishkin, a composer, instrumentalist, and sound artist demonstrates how experimental forms of music emerge from the wooden instruments he invents and builds in his studio. Harris-Babou hand-molds clay into an absurdly dysfunctional hammer, which visitors will be able to project into their homes via augmented reality (AR). Visitors can also walk with Reed through These Art Not Fables, a funhouse environment created in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Through interviews, photography, video, and AR, each Burke Prize artist’s own story is shared, further expanding our understanding of craft and the extraordinary artists who are propelling the field into bold, experimental territory.

Inspired by the disciplines that shaped the American studio craft movement, the Burke Prize is endowed by Marian and Russell Burke, two longtime supporters of MAD and passionate collectors of craft.  MAD Trustee Marian Burke, said: “Rusty and I are thrilled to support MAD in championing artists who exemplify the possibilities inherent in craft presented in an exciting new digital format.”

To experience Story Makers: Burke Prize 2021, visit:

The 2021 jurors are Indira Allegra, artist and 2019 Burke Prize winner; Andrew Gardner, Curatorial Assistant in Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art; and Gabriel de Guzman, Director of Arts and Chief Curator at Wave Hill.

Story Makers: Burke Prize 2021 is curated by MAD Assistant Curator Angelik Vizcarrondo-Laboy with support from Curatorial Assistant Alida Jekabson.

The Museum of Arts and Design is grateful for the generosity of Marian and Russell Burke for making possible the 2021 Burke Prize.


The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) champions contemporary makers across creative fields and presents the work of artists, designers, and artisans who apply the highest level of ingenuity and skill. Since the Museum’s founding in 1956 by philanthropist and visionary Aileen Osborn Webb, MAD has celebrated all facets of making and the creative processes by which materials are transformed, from traditional techniques to cutting-edge technologies. Today, the Museum’s curatorial program builds upon a rich history of exhibitions that emphasize a cross-disciplinary approach to art and design, and reveals the workmanship behind the objects and environments that shape our everyday lives. MAD provides an international platform for practitioners who are influencing the direction of cultural production and driving twenty-first-century innovation, and fosters a participatory setting for visitors to have direct encounters with skilled making and compelling works of art and design. For more information, visit

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