Blackstone’s Studzinski Funds $40,000 Arts Prize in the U.K.

John Studzinski
John Studzinski, senior managing director of Blackstone Group LP. Photographer: Adam Berry/Bloomberg

John Studzinski, senior managing director of Blackstone Group LP and a cultural philanthropist, awarded 25,000 pounds ($40,000) to a London music venue, inaugurating an art prize he’ll give out every two years.

Winner Hamish Dunbar founded Cafe Oto in London’s East End, by turning a disused warehouse into a venue for experimental music and sound art. The prize is aimed at encouraging institutions to mentor budding talents, and will be worth 50,000 pounds when it is next awarded in two years’ time, 56-year-old Studzinski said in an interview.

Studzinski in May 2007 pledged 5 million pounds to Tate Modern for its new extension. He is spending 3 million pounds this year nurturing young art in the U.K. via donations to institutions including the Royal Court Theatre.

“It’s sort of a venture capital of mentoring,” Studzinski said of his new art prize. “By funding other organizations or other individuals that are mentors, you’re providing awareness, getting organizations to focus on how important it is.”

He said the prize “consists of money to be invested in mentoring and nurturing” and that winners could not be “reinvesting it in themselves.”

The winner was picked by a panel of seven judges including the architect Richard Rogers, the Young Vic Theatre’s director David Lan, and Studzinski himself.

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