World renowned dancer receives Doris Duke Performing Artist Award

Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, the Nancy Smith Fichter
Professor in Florida State's School of Dance.

Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, an artist-in-residence and the Nancy Smith Fichter Professor in Florida State University’s School of Dance, is one of 20 distinguished artists to receive a Doris Duke Performing Artist Award for 2013.

Given by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation in partnership with Creative Capital, the award consists of an unrestricted grant of $225,000 over a three- to five-year period. The award is intended to empower, invest in and celebrate artists by offering flexible, multiyear funding as a response to financial and funding challenges both unique to the performing arts and to each recipient.

“I am so honored and in a state of deep gratitude for this award,” said Zollar, who also is a Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor at Florida State. “It means so much for me to be in this great company of the 2013 awardees.

“On the eve of Urban Bush Women’s 30th anniversary and in my 6th decade, the Duke Award means more than words can ever express,” Zollar said.

Zollar is the recipient of numerous awards and distinctions. She was named a Guggenheim Fellow for 2009-2010. She is the recipient of a 2008 United States Artists Wynn Fellowship; the New York Dance and Performance Award, better known as a “Bessie” — the dance world’s Tony — in 1992 and again in 2006; the 2006 Joyce Award; the 2005 Master of African American Choreography Award from the Kennedy Center; FSU’s 1999 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Service Award; the 1997 FSU Alumna of the Year Award; and the 1994 Capezio Award.

After leading community engagement initiatives across the United States for many years, Zollar and her Urban Bush Women were appointed as 2010 U.S. State Department cultural ambassadors to South America.

Zollar received her Master of Fine Arts degree in dance from FSU in 1979.