Kumu hula Vicky Holt Takamine was one of 46 artists selected as a fellow by Chicago-based United States Artists this year, according to an announcement released today.
The fellows, nominated anonymously by peers, are selected from across nine creative disciplines and each awarded $50,000 for whatever they need most to support their ongoing artistic and professional development. Takamine was officially given the title of USA Doris Duke Fellow under the category of traditional arts.
“I was overwhelmed and speechless,” Takamine told the Star-Advertiser. “We don’t do this work thinking about getting rewarded for it because we love it. We do the work because we’re passionate about it”
Takamine, 69, is the respected kumu hula of Pua Ali‘i ‘Ilima (Royal ‘Ilima Blossom), which she established in 1977. She began studying hula at the age of 12 and is a graduate of late kumu hula Maiki Aiu Lake. The mother of three and grandmother of four has taught hula to hundreds of students and served as a judge for the Merrie Monarch Festival. She is also the founder of the PA‘I Foundation, a Honolulu non-profit that supports Native Hawaiian arts and cultures through the production of the Maoli Arts Month cultural festival and fashion show every year.
With the award, Takamine hopes to take her students on more cultural exchange trips abroad as well as focus on a musical production honoring the songs and compositions of Queen Lili‘uokalani.
Since it was founded in 2006, United States Artists has provided almost $25 million in awards to nearly 500 American artists in the fields of architecture & design, crafts, dance, literature, media, music, theater & performance, traditional arts and visual arts.
Past recipients of the USA fellowships include novelist Annie Proulx, playwright David Henry Hwang and choreographer Bill T. Jones.