Mentor Ralph Lemon Receives $250,000 Heinz Award

October 10, 2018

Headshot of Ralph LemonVisual Arts Mentor, Ralph Lemon, has been awarded the prestigious Heinz Award in the Arts and Humanities Category for a cash prize of $250,000.


The awards were “established  by Teresa Heinz in 1993 to honor the memory of her late husband, U.S. Senator John Heinz. The Awards celebrate the accomplishments and spirit of the Senator by recognizing the extraordinary achievements of individuals in the areas of greatest importance to him,” according to the website.  


Lemon is a choreographer and interdisciplinary artist who is being recognized for his extensive body of work. He creates “multifaceted works of movement, visual art and language that explore stories of race, identity, spirituality and heritage. Lemon integrates dance forms known for intense physicality and emotion, with elements of theater, drawing, film, writing and ethnography,” according to BLOUIN ARTINFO.


In describing his own work with the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Lemon says, “I contemplate what it is I can't do, what's not possible, in this ongoing conversation I have with the body—as place, memory, culture—and as vehicle for cultural language. My artistic process entails a vigorous collision of creative cultures and inspired conversations that dictate how the work is constructed, and how it might be shared with a public audience."


He founded the Ralph Lemon Dance Company in 1985 for which he received a dedicated following and critical acclaim. He has choreographed over 30 pieces for his and other companies, including Alvin Ailey Repertory Company, Limon Dance Company, Ballet du Grand Theatre de Geneve, Lyon Opera Ballet, New Dance Ensemble, and the Boston Ballet. He is currently the Artistic Director of Cross Performance, a company dedicated to the creation of cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary performance and presentation. 


His honors include an American Choreographers Award, two New York Dance and Performance (“Bessie”) Awards, and the National Medal of Arts, which was bestowed to him by President Barack Obama in 2015.