First-year MFA student Marc Horowitz wins AOL 25 for 25 grant

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AOL today announced the winners of "25 for 25: The AOL Grant Program," part of the company's AOL Artists initiative. From more than 9000 international applicants, a distinguished panel of judges—which included Adam Weinberg, the director of the Whitney Museum, and Kim Hastreiter of Paper Magazine—selected 25 "innovators and visionaries," who will each receive $25,000.

Among the winners was Marc Horowitz (MFA '12), a first-year student in the MFA Program at the USC Roski School of Fine Arts. His works include video and drawing, but he is best known for his investigative and idiosyncratic cultural experiments. In 2005, for instance, he sneaked his name and phone number into a Crate & Barrel catalog, then spent a year or so having dinner with some of the 30,000 people who called him in response. This November, he will make decisions in his life based on the advice of strangers, gathered via online voting, as part of a Creative Time–sponsored project, "The Advice of Strangers."

"All of us at the Roski School are extremely proud of Marc," said Rochelle Steiner, the curator and writer, and dean of the USC Roski School of Fine Arts. "His multifaceted, hard-to-pin-down projects are smart and innovative, as well as socially engaged—exactly the kind of work we want to nurture here."

With the funding provided by the award, Horowitz plans to keep up the multidisciplinary work. The grant, he said, will "provide me with the opportunity to continue making work that engages with a diverse range of subjects, from entertainment, advertising, fine art, architectural environments, and commerce, to how to find joy and happiness on a day-to-day basis."

The 25 for 25 program, organized in honor of AOL's 25th anniversary, is just one facet of the company's partnership with Chuck Close, announced earlier this year, and online at AOLArtists.com.

"We are thrilled to honor and provide a platform for these very worthy 25 individuals who have inspired us," said Maureen Sullivan, Senior Vice President of Brand & Marketing for AOL. "25 for 25 is an affirmation of our commitment to the creative community."

Other winners came from across the United States, along with one from Israel, and included writers, filmmakers, musicians, journalists, an architect, and a blogger. They will now be featured on AOLArtists.com, exposing their creative work to a large, global audience.