Pittsburgh native Kyle Abraham has been a nationally recognized choreographer for years, but acclaim in the dance world hasn't always been enough to pay his student loan or put food on the table.
This week, Mr. Abraham, who lives in New York, learned that he can face the daunting task of being an artist with a lot more confidence. The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced that Mr. Abraham, 36, will be one of two dozen recipients of a 2013 "genius" grant -- a $625,000 no-strings-attached stipend to be paid to each winner over five years.
For Mr. Abraham, who was on food stamps three years ago and has struggled to pay the members of his dance company Abraham.In.Motion, a MacArthur fellowship translates into reliable income as he builds a self-sustaining company while deepening his artistic vision. This is tremendous affirmation for a talented dancer-choreographer who is juggling the creative and practical sides of pursuing a dream.
Over the years, the MacArthur grant awards committee has recognized former and current Pittsburghers in various fields, some in education and others in the sciences. Mr. Abraham, who attended Pittsburgh Public Schools, is an artist who embodies the creative but determined spirit the awards were designed to encourage.
Because there are other potentially deserving recipients of the MacArthur grants here, Pittsburgh can look forward to more announcements of winners in the future.