New Rome Prize Winners and Italian Fellows

2020-21 Rome Prize Winners and Italian Fellows C
2020-21 Rome Prize Winners and Italian Fellows B
2020-21 Rome Prize Winners and Italian Fellows A

The American Academy in Rome today announced the winners of the 2020–21 Rome Prize and Italian Fellowships. These highly competitive fellowships support advanced independent work and research in the arts and humanities. This year, Fellowships were awarded to twenty-two American and two Italian artists and scholars, who will each receive a stipend, workspace, and room and board for a period of four to seven months at the Academy’s eleven-acre campus in Rome. Given the impact of COVID-19, the 2020–21 residential Fellowship season will begin in January and end in August. Starting this September, Academy staff will host a series of online programs for the Fellows, including orientations, language classes, presentations, and individual support with their upcoming projects.

The Academy’s new director, Avinoam Shalem (2016 Resident), will begin his three-year term in January 2021, coinciding with the Fellows arrival in Rome. Currently the Riggio Professor for the Arts of Islam in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University, Shalem specializes in the history of Islamic art, with a strong emphasis on Arab art in the Mediterranean Basin, the Near East, and the Levant, as well as in Spain, southern Italy, and Sicily. He also focuses on the art of the object, including secular and sacred aesthetics, as well as Jewish, Christian, and Islamic artistic interactions in the Mediterranean.

“We look forward to welcoming Avinoam and some of the world’s brightest artists and scholars to the Academy in January,” said Mark Robbins, AAR President and CEO. “Avinoam’s expansive and global scholarship will bring an exciting aspect to the season’s programming, which will focus thematically on ‘The City.’”

To ensure the safety of Fellows and staff, while also preserving its unique environment, the Academy community will be smaller than usual to allow for proper social distancing. In addition, next season AAR expects to welcome a very limited number of Residents and Affiliated Fellows, while the Visiting Artists and Scholars Program will be evaluated at a later date. All residential guests will be given the space to self-isolate upon arrival in Rome, and public events are suspended for the time being.

Rome Prize winners are selected annually by independent juries of distinguished artists and scholars through a national competition. The eleven disciplines supported by the Academy are: Literature, Music Composition, Visual Arts, Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Design, and Historic Preservation and Conservation, as well as Ancient Studies, Medieval Studies, Renaissance and Early Modern Studies, and Modern Italian Studies. Nationwide, 1,031 applications were received from 46 US states plus Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and 15 different countries. The ages of the winners range from 29 to 59.

In addition to the Rome Prize winners, the Academy announced the recipients of two Italian Fellowships, through which Italian artists and scholars live and work in the Academy community, pursuing their own projects in a collaborative, interdisciplinary environment with their American counterparts. The Italian Fellows are also selected through a national jury process.

A full list of the 2020–21 Rome Prize winners and Italian Fellows, as well as the international jurors who selected them, can be downloaded here.

Ancient Studies

Dillon Gisch
Arthur Ross/Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Rome Prize

Rebecca Levitan
Samuel H. Kress Foundation/Emeline Hill Richardson Rome Prize

Maggie L. Popkin
Andrew Heiskell Rome Prize

Christy Q. Schirmer
Millicent Mercer Johnsen/Irene Rosenzweig Rome Prize


Katy Barkan
Rome Prize in Architecture

David Serlin
Arnold W. Brunner/Katherine Edwards Gordon/Frances Barker Tracy Rome Prize


Steve Parker
Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon Polsky Rome Prize

Terese Wadden
Mark Hampton/Jesse Howard Jr. Rome Prize

Historic Preservation and Conservation

Jean Dommermuth
Suzanne Deal Booth Rome Prize

Paulette Marie Singley
Adele Chatfield-Taylor Rome Prize

Landscape Architecture

Kevin Benham
Prince Charitable Trusts/Kate Lancaster Brewster Rome Prize

Robert Gerard Pietrusko
Garden Club of America Rome Prize


Alexandra Kleeman
John Guare Writer’s Fund Rome Prize, a gift of Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman

Medieval Studies

Danny Smith
Marian and Andrew Heiskell/Anthony M. Clark Rome Prize

Modern Italian Studies

Anna Dumont
Lily Auchincloss Rome Prize

Matthew H. Ellis
Paul Mellon/Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Rome Prize

Musical Composition

Katherine Balch
Elliott Carter Rome Prize

William Dougherty
Luciano Berio Rome Prize

Renaissance and Early Modern Studies

Carla Keyvanian
National Endowment for the Humanities/Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Post-Doctoral Rome Prize

Rebecca Messbarger
Rome Prize in Renaissance and Early Modern Studies

Lindsay Sheedy
Samuel H. Kress Foundation/Donald and Maria Cox Rome Prize

Visual Arts

Jennifer Packer
Nancy B. Negley Rome Prize

Italian Fellows

Francesca Berni
Enel Foundation Italian Fellow in Architecture, Urban Design, and Landscape

Sara Enrico
Fondazione Sviluppo e Crescita CRT Italian Fellow in Visual Arts

Press inquiries

Andrew Mitchell

Director of Communications

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Maddalena Bonicelli

Rome Press Officer

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