United States Artists has just announced the recipients of its annual grants: 50 artists (or artist teams), each receiving no-strings-attached grants of $50,000. One of those is Octavio Solis, who got his start in the early days of Deep Ellum — where he premiered his play Prospect Street, years before shooting it on video as Prospect. He currently lives in San Francisco. Born in El Paso — where he set his acclaimed play, Lydia — he graduated from San Antonio’s Trinity University and had his brothers-in-crime drama, Santos & Santos, premiered at the Dallas Theater Center in 1995.
United States Artists is a newcomer in cultural grants, when compared with the MacArthur or Guggenheim foundations. But only 5 years old, USA has raised $15 million for its annual grants, plus $1.4 million through a micro-philanthropy website where artists make direct pitches to visitors to fund specific projects.