Mandolinist and composer Chris Thile, arts entrepreneur Claire Chase, and bow maker Benoît Rolland are among the 23 recipients of 2012 MacArthur Fellowships. Often referred to as “genius grants,” the program awards five-year, $500,000 unrestricted fellowships “to talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction.”
Each year, the MacArthur Foundation selects between 20-30 recipients. Between June 1981 and September 2012, 873 Fellows have been named from a range of disciplines. The fellowship is designed to provide recipients with the flexibility to pursue their creative activities in the absence of specific obligations or reporting requirements. There are no limits on age or area of activity. Individuals cannot apply for this award; they must be nominated.
(—from the MacArthur Foundation website)