Press Releases

DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum Awards 23rd Annual Rappaport Prize to artist Steve Locke

deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum  |  August 16, 2022

Image: Ross Collab

Lincoln, MA – August 2022- deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum is proud to announce artist Steve Locke as the recipient of the 23rd annual Rappaport Prize. Spanning painting, drawing, sculpture, and installation, Locke’s artistic practice critically addresses the history of western art and interrogates the connections between desire, identity, and violence. Locke is a recognized teacher and author, and has offered moving reflections on the connections between politics and American art.

Established in 2000 and endowed in perpetuity in 2010, the Prize was established by The Phyllis and Jerome Lyle Rappaport Foundation to ensure the ongoing support of contemporary art and artists in New England. In 2022, the foundation increased the award to an unrestricted gift of $50,000. A free but ticketed in-person lecture is planned for Spring 2023, in the Dewey Family Hall at the deCordova.

About Steve Locke

Steve Locke (b.1963 in Cleveland, Ohio), lives and works in Brooklyn and Hudson, NY. In 2001, Locke received his BFA and MFA from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Locke has exhibited extensively, including solo exhibitions at the Institute for Contemporary Art, Boston, and Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, where his 2019 work, Three Deliberate Greys for Freddie: A Memorial for Freddie Gray, was described by the Boston Globe as, “[A]bstract and enigmatic, at once a vivid display of beauty and a somber spot for mourning.” In 2020, Locke received a Guggenheim Fellowship. Long recognized for the excellence of his teaching, Locke is Professor of Fine Art at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn. He is represented by LaMontagne Gallery and Alexander Gray Associates. On October 28, 2022, Locke will open a solo exhibition at Alexander Gray Associates.

“Steve Locke is an essential artist of our time,” says deCordova Artistic Director Jessica May. “So many of us have admired the ways in which Steve’s art brings together multiple vectors of cultural discourse—layering art history and the history of racialized violence in America, for instance—his art has increasingly changed my understanding of American history and our cultural and political environment today.”

About the Rappaport Prize

Since its inception in 2000, the Rappaport Prize represents investment in both individual artists and the future of contemporary art in New England. Founded and funded by the Phyllis and Jerome Lyle Rappaport Foundation, and increased to an unrestricted $50,000 gift in 2022, the Rappaport Prize follows the Foundation’s mission of promoting leadership in art, public policy, and medical research. Awarded annually by the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, the Rappaport Prize supports artists while educating the public about developments in American contemporary art.

“Through color, scale, and conceptual framework, Steve Locke’s art addresses issues of race, sexual identity, history, and love,” notes Phyllis Rappaport. “His work compels us to confront our past and examine our future while facilitating discourse and self-reflection. He is a force, a teacher, and a visionary. I am proud to call him a Rappaport Art Prize recipient.”

“It’s such a profound gift to be recognized for your work when you are alive to see it,” adds Locke. “I am deeply grateful to the foundation and the committee for their consideration–especially Phyllis and her beloved Jerry, whose generosity and vision made this possible. And I must say that it is a profound honor to be mentioned in the same company as Jennifer Hall and Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, two women who had a hand in shaping me to be the artist and thinker I am today.”

The prize celebrates the achievement and potential of an artist who has demonstrated significant creativity and vision and encourages the recipient to continue a career of innovative art making. Together, deCordova and the Rappaport Foundation hope to create a community of accomplished artists whose careers have been enhanced by the recognition of the Rappaport Prize. In 2010, the Rappaport Foundation permanently endowed the prize.

In order to make this year’s selection, the deCordova convened a jury—for the first time—to consider nominations of 12 finalists. This year’s jurors are:

  • Dina Deitsch, Director and Chief Curator, Tufts University Art Galleries, Boston and Medford, Massachusetts
  • Tom Finkelpearl, independent curator and author, former Commissioner of New York City Department of Cultural Affairs
  • Marcia Minter, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Indigo Arts Alliance, Portland, Maine

In order to select finalists for review by the jurors, deCordova curators continued their longstanding practice of soliciting nominations from art professionals from around the country—including museum directors, curators, collectors, and artists. After reviewing the nominations, as well as suggesting their own nominations, deCordova leadership engaged the jurors to collaborate with curators on the final selection. For more information on the history of the Rappaport Prize, visit

Past Rappaport Prize Winners
2021 Katherine Bradford
2020 Sonya Clark
2019 Daniela Rivera
2018 Titus Kaphar
2017 Sam Durant
2016 Barkley Hendricks
2015 Matt Saunders
2014 Liz Deschenes
2013 Ann Pibal
2012 Suara Welitoff
2011 Orly Genger
2010 Liza Johnson
2009 Dave Cole
2008 Ursula von Rydingsvard
2007 Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons
2006 Abelardo Morell
2005 Sarah Walker
2004 Debra Olin
2003 John Bisbee
2002 Lars-Erik Fisk
2001 Annee Spileos Scott
2000 Jennifer Hall

About deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum
Established in 1950 and located just twenty miles west of Boston, deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum is dedicated to fostering the creation and exploration of contemporary sculpture and art through a dynamic slate of rotating exhibitions, innovative learning opportunities, a constantly changing thirty-acre landscape of large-scale, outdoor, modern and contemporary sculpture, and site-specific installations. DeCordova joined The Trustees in July of 2019. To learn more, visit

About The Trustees
Founded in the city of Boston by landscape architect and open space visionary Charles Eliot in 1891, the Trustees is the nation’s first and the Commonwealth’s largest preservation and conservation non-profit. For more than 125 years, we have worked to preserve and protect dynamic natural and cultural sites – from beaches and community gardens to farms, historic homesteads, designed landscapes, and hiking trails – for public use and enjoyment. Today we are working to engage a larger constituency of Massachusetts residents, members, visitors, and public and private partners in our work to help protect our beloved and fragile natural, ecological, cultural, and coastal sites for current and future generations.