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Former Dallas Playwright Wins a USA Fellowship
by Jerome Weeks 5 Dec 2011

Octavio Solis got his start in the early days of Deep Ellum — before moving to San Francisco. He’s had his plays done at the Mark Taper Forum, the Yale Rep and, oh yes, the Dallas Theater Center. Now, he’s 50 grand richer, no strings attached.


United States Artists has just announced the recipients of its annual grants: 50 artists (or artist teams), each receiving no-strings-attached grants of $50,000.  One of those is Octavio Solis, who got his start in the early days of Deep Ellum — where he premiered his play Prospect Street, years before shooting it on video as Prospect. He currently lives in San Francisco. Born in El Paso — where he set his acclaimed play, Lydia — he graduated from San Antonio’s Trinity University and had his brothers-in-crime drama, Santos & Santos, premiered at the Dallas Theater Center in 1995.

United States Artists is a newcomer in cultural grants, when compared with the MacArthur or Guggenheim foundations. But only 5 years old, USA has raised $15 million for its annual grants, plus $1.4 million through a micro-philanthropy website where artists make direct pitches to visitors to fund specific projects.