Rob Ickes Wins United States Artist Fellowship

December 8, 2010

 50 Artists from Eight Disciplines Recognized as Among "America's Finest Artists"

United States Artists, an organization dedicated to supporting America's finest artists working across diverse disciplines, announced the selection of Rob Ickes as the 2010 United States Artists Cummings Fellow at a ceremony tonight at the Lincoln Center.

The USA Fellows program awards a $50,000 grant to fifty artists each year in the disciplines of music, theater arts, visual arts, dance, literature, media, crafts/traditional arts, and architecture/ design. United States Artists was formed by the Ford Foundation in 2005 with $22 million in seed funding from The Ford, Rockefeller, Rasmuson and Prudential Foundations, with a mission "to invest in America's finest artists and illuminate the value of artists to society."

USA Fellowship nominations are made by an anonymous group of arts leaders, critics, scholars, and artists chosen by USA. An expert panel for each discipline then chooses the USA Fellows to be recommended for approval by the USA Board.  Previous USA fellows from the field of music include Michael Doucet, Bill Frisell, Ali Akbar Kahn, Terry Allen, Lionel Loueke, violinist Leila Josefowicz, jazz musician Muhal Richard Abrams, and interdisciplinary artist Meredith Monk.

Katharine DeShaw, USA Executive Director, described the 2010 recipients as follows: "Chosen for the caliber and impact of their work, the USA Fellows for 2010 hail from 18 states and Puerto Rico, range in age from 32 to 71, and represent some of the most innovative and diverse creative talents in the country."

Ickes is the first artist with roots in bluegrass music to be named a USA Fellow. His work spans multiple genres, and Ickes plans to use his fellowship to continue to explore "the vast musical potential that the dobro has to offer," and to raise the visibility of the instrument.
 
WATCH THE ANNOUNCEMENT AND CELEBRATION , STREAMING LIVE FROM JAZZ AT LINCOLN CENTER AT 8pm ET:  The 2010 USA Fellows will be announced tonight at 8:00pm, followed by a celebration with special performances by several Fellows from prior years.  Watch a live stream of the announcement and celebration at unitedstatesartists.org (a video will also be archived and available for viewing on USA's website after the event).

Rob Ickes
Photo credit: Michael Witcher

About Rob Ickes
A Northern California native, Rob Ickes moved to Nashville in 1992 and joined Blue Highway, the highly esteemed bluegrass band, as a founding member in 1994. He is recognized as one of the most innovative Dobro players on the scene today, contributing signature technique and greatly expanding the boundaries of the instrument's sonic and stylistic territory. He won the International Bluegrass Music Association's Dobro Player of the Year award for a record-setting twelfth time in 2010, and is the most awarded instrumentalist in the history of the IBMA awards.

An active session player and touring musician, he has collaborated with a wide range of artists, including Merle Haggard, Earl Scruggs, Tony Rice, Charlie Haden, David Grisman, Alison Krauss, Willie Nelson, David Lee Roth, Dolly Parton, Patty Loveless, Peter Rowan, Claire Lynch, andMary Chapin Carpenter.

His most recent release is Road Song (ResoRevolution), a dobro-piano jazz album. He has also released four acclaimed solo albums on Rounder, nine albums with Blue Highway (Rounder, Ceili, Rebel) and a CD with Three Ring Circle (Rob, Andy Leftwich & Dave Pomeroy). The youngest dobro player on The Great Dobro Sessions (Jerry Douglas & Tut Taylor, producers), which won the 1994 Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album, he was also on the Alison Krauss & The Cox Family album, I Know Who Holds Tomorrow, which won the 1994 Grammy for Best Southern Gospel.

Rob is also a gifted resonator guitar teacher; in 2007, he founded ResoSummit, a three-day annual instructional event in Nashville, featuring leading Dobro players and luthiers as faculty.

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