Skillman Grantee Wins MacArthur Award

DETROIT -- Sphinx Organization Founder and President Aaron Dworkin was honored this month when he was named as a MacArthur Fellow for 2005. The prestigious award -- whose recipients are chosen in a process shrouded in secrecy -- comes with a $500,000 "no strings attached" prize payable over the next five years.

Dworkin was honored for his work as a music educator and for increasing diversity and opportunity for young people and adults in the classical musical realm.

"I am deeply moved to be receiving this award," Dworkin said. "To be included in such a creative, inspiring group of individuals is humbling."

The MacArthur Fellows Program awards unrestricted fellowships to talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction. There are three criteria for selection of Fellows: exceptional creativity, promise for important future advances based on a track record of significant accomplishment, and potential for the fellowship to facilitate subsequent creative work. Nominators, evaluators, and selectors all serve anonymously and their correspondence is kept confidential.

"It is exciting to see a member of the Detroit arts community honored as a MacArthur Fellow," said Sharnita C. Johnson, program officer with The Skillman Foundation. "It is an acknowledgement of his commitment to making classical music accessible and relevant to youth in our community. We are very proud to support Aaron and the Sphinx Organization."

The Skillman Foundation, together with the Ford Motor Company Fund, provides funding for the Sphinx Preparatory Music Institute, which offers free Saturday classes to Detroit students in music history and instrumental performances. The program focuses on the roles of Black and Latino composers in the classical music field.