MacArthur Fellowships, or “genius grants,” provide recipients with $100,000 annually for five years, no strings attached. The funds are provided by the Chicago-based John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation “to talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction,” according to the foundation.
Jazzmen Ken Vandermark and Reginald Robinson, architect Jeanne Gang and anthropologist Shannon Lee Dawdy have been among Chicago’s fellowship winners.
“Many of us fantasize about receiving a phone call from the MacArthur Foundation saying, ‘You have been selected,’” said Conrad in a statement. “My call did not inform me that I had won a fellowship, but rather an invitation to serve as the director of this unique and exceptional program.”
Conrad will begin work on Jan. 15.