Herb Johnson III (Dance 2010) Named Jerome Hill Artist Fellow
January 27, 2021
The Jerome Foundation recently announced the 2021 grant recipients in the second round of the Jerome Hill Artist Fellowships program. Among the recipients of the 60 Fellowships awarded is Herb Johnson III (Dance 2010). Ten artists were selected in each of the disciplines of dance, film/new media, literature, music, theater/performance/spoken word, and visual arts. The award winners are early-career artists based in Minnesota and New York City.
Herb Johnson III (aka JDot Tight Eyez) graduated from Perpich in 2010 and studied 3 years at the Lundstrum Center for Arts. Johnson is now an Urban & Street dance instructor at the University of Minnesota. He choreographs and performs solo and in groups 612 Crew, DeadPool, and Mixtape. Professional work includes iLuminate from America’s Got Talent, choreographing G-Easy’s Halftime Show 2018, and Super Bowl 52 Halftime Show 2018 with Justin Timberlake. Johnson was a 2017 McKnight Dancer Fellow and received a 2018 Momentum: New Dance Works commission and a grant from the Foundation of Contemporary Arts. Additionally, he received a Jerome Travel/Study grant in 2018 to travel to Dusseldorf, Germany to attend European Buck Session’s annual Krump dance event.
Johnson III is a multi-disciplinary artist and Krump Scholar. As a leader of the Krump dance movement in Minnesota, he aspires to continue to build and bring visibility to the community through training within the style and event organization. When asked what he hopes to achieve with this fellowship, Johnson replied, “I hope to bring more visibility to artists in the Krump Dance community here in Minnesota through events. I also hope to dig deeper into music production to create scores for my own works in the near future.”
Mary Harding, Dance Instructor, taught Herb when he was a student at Perpich. Harding remarked, “I am so proud of Herb and all he has accomplished. I am honored to be one of the many dance teachers that have been a part of his journey. Herbert’s talent and vision are amazing but what brings me the most joy is his generosity of spirit. He gives back to his multiple communities, he uplifts them through his teaching, choreography, events, and performance. I am so grateful that he continues to give back to Perpich.”
Reflecting on his education at Perpich, Herb shared, “My time at Perpich enhanced my dreams to be a full time dancer/artist. Mary Harding taught me a lot, of course. Modern, Jazz, and Ballet, I was well informed, but those are not the big takeaways. I learned professionalism, many ways to create work, and integrity within dance, to name a few. I picked up great characteristic qualities during my time at Perpich and it plays a part in my professional career today and will forever.”
The two-year Fellowship awards total $3 million. Each award is $50,000 over two years ($25,000 per year) in direct support to artists to create new work, advance artistic goals, and/or promote professional development. Discipline-specific panels, composed of artists, curators, artistic leaders, and arts administrators, reviewed a total of 820 applicants before identifying 144 as finalists for fuller discussion in advance of recommending a slate of Fellows to the Jerome Board of Directors for approval. In their deliberations, panels considered applicants’ samples of past works, additional past artistic accomplishments, the potential impact of a fellowship on their careers and their artistic field, their readiness to take maximum advantage of support, and their alignment with Jerome’s values of innovation, diversity, and humility. At their meeting on December 6, 2020, the Board unanimously and enthusiastically approved the recommended Fellowships supporting 27 artists from Minnesota and Fellowships supporting 35 artists based in New York City.
“This year’s cohort represents an extraordinary social and aesthetic range, advancing their practices and engaging their community in exciting ways, even in these difficult and unprecedented times. It also exemplifies Jerome Foundation’s commitment to diversity and the diversity of artists across all disciplines with 85% of the Fellows identifying as Black, Native American, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, Arab American, or as Artists of Color. The work of all of these artists in binding our communities together and in stimulating our imagination has never been more important,” said Board Chair Linda Earle of New York City.
Jerome Board members also include officers Kate Barr of Minneapolis (Vice-Chair), Daniel Alexander Jones of New York (Secretary), and Rick Scott of Minneapolis (Treasurer); Minnesota Directors Sarah Bellamy (St. Paul) and Sanjit Sethi (Minneapolis); New York City Directors Thomas Lax and Elizabeth Streb; and South Dakota Director Lori Pourier (Rapid City).