Each year, United States Artists honors 50 of America's finest artists with individual fellowship awards of $50,000 each. Celebrated and innovative banjo player Tony Trischka has inspired many other progressive players and is one of the 2012 recipients. Trischka started playing the banjo in 1963 and played with numerous bands until the 1980s, when he began recording with his band, Skyline, and worked on the soundtrack for Driving Miss Daisy. His 2007 album, Double Banjo Bluegrass Spectacular, featured appearances by Steve Martin, Earl Scruggs, and many other banjo luminaries, and received two International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) awards as well as a Grammy® nomination. Trischka also received an IBMA award for Banjo Player of the Year.
Recipients are announced in early December of each year during a gala celebration. Various disciplines are included including music, dance, literature and others.
The awards are made possible by the strong support of donors and visionary philanthropists who are also invited to become members of the US Artists National Leadership Committee. Many donors and foundations participate where they contribute and support a domain with their generous gifts.
Artists use their grants in a variety of ways to support their art. Many develop a new project while others acquire supplies to enhance their work. Many volunteer time and resources to causes related to their art or organize presentations related to their respective endeavors. Most artists use the funds to further their work and enhance their field.