Vera List Center Prize for Art and Politics
The Vera List Center Prize for Art and Politics was launched in 2012
to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the founding of the Vera List
Center for Art and Politics. It honors an artist or group of artists who
has taken great risks to advance social justice in profound and visionary
ways. International in scope, the biennial prize is awarded for a particu-
lar project’s long-term impact, boldness, and artistic excellence. 
The prize initiative unfolds across various platforms and over an
extended period of time. It serves as a catalyst for activities that illumi-
nate the important role of the arts in society, and strengthen teaching
and learning at The New School in art and design, social science, philos-
ophy, and civic engagement. More than a single moment of recognition,
it represents a long-term commitment to the question of how the arts
advance social justice, how we speak of, evaluate, and teach such work.
An exhibition of the winning project, a conference, various
classes, and an online and print publication featuring select nominated
projects complement a cash award and short-term New York City resi-
dency for the honoree. In the spirit of the center’s twenty-year history,
the prize provides the opportunity for an ongoing public conversation
on art and social justice as a global issue that engages audiences in New
York City, nationally and around the world.
The inaugural Vera List Center Prize for Art and Politics was
bestowed on Theaster Gates on September 18, 2013. It was accom-
panied by an artist lecture, a conference, and the exhibition Theaster
Gates: A Way of Working, curated by Carin Kuoni and Chelsea Haines,
in collaboration with Theaster Gates. The exhibition was presented
from September 18 through October 5, 2013, in the Arnold and Sheila
Aronson Galleries of the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center at Parsons
School of Design.
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