Scripps College Alumna Elizabeth Turk ’83 Awarded MacArthur “Genius Grant”

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has announced sculptor and Scripps College alumna Elizabeth Turk ’83 is one of 22 Americans to receive the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship for 2010. The fellowship, which is given to exceptionally creative individuals, includes a $500,000 no-strings-attached grant to “offer unprecedented freedom and opportunity to reflect, create, and explore.”

“[These Fellows] are explorers and risk takers, contributing to their fields and to society in innovative, impactful ways,” said MacArthur President Robert Gallucci. “They provide us all with inspiration and hope for the future.”

Turk was elated upon hearing the news. “I felt this enormous sense of pressure taken off,” she said. “And then the next thought was, ‘You’ve gotta create something unbelievably great now!'”

Elizabeth Turk graduated from Scripps College in 1983. Her work has appeared in numerous solo and group exhibits at the Mint Museum of Art (North Carolina), the University of Virginia Art Museum, the American Institute of Architecture (New York), and the National Museum of Women in the Arts (Washington, DC).

“I think my sister describes my work the best,” noted Turk. “She said that [my] work is inspirational because it is making something possible out of the impossible. I love that statement because it’s at once optimistic, it’s inspirational to me, and it does describe my work.”

Including this year’s Fellows, 828 people, ranging in age from 18 to 82, have been named MacArthur Fellows since the inception of the program 30 years ago. Other 2010 recipients of the MacArthur Fellowship include animators, linguists, geneticists, teachers, writers, and others.

For additional biographical information, video interviews, and downloadable photographs, meet the 2010 MacArthur Fellows.