Cauleen won the award in the film/video category and takes home a $75,000 prize as part of the honor.

The Herb Alpert Award in the Arts is part of a collaboration between the Herb Alpert Foundation and the California Institute of the Arts. Each year, the award is given to five exceptional mid-career artists. Herb Alpert is the Grammy-award winning musician and producer who rose to fame as the trumpet-playing leader of the Tijuana Brass Band in the 1960s.

From the award website: “Filmmaker and artist Cauleen Smith makes work that reveals a nuanced tension between experimental and traditional narrative forms. Creating a language for the fallen, fragile, flawed and fugitive, she has turned her gaze on the bodies of black women, the emotional lives of crows, the neglected lakefront of the southside of Chicago, and a neighborhood in New Orleans that may never return. She proposes speculative narratives, visionary interpretations of racialized experience, sometimes purposefully layers asynchronous sound and even employs lenses that render an altered perception to viewers, all ways to defamiliarize the familiar. She questions identity, politics, emotion, physicality, beauty, and technology. The cosmos is her terrain.”

Click here to learn more about the award and read an interview with Cauleen.