Lauren Lee McCarthy, associate professor of design media arts at the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture, has been named a 2021 United States Artists Fellow. She is one of 60 recipients of the fellowships, which are given to artists across 10 creative disciplines, including architecture and design, media and visual art. Each artist will receive an unrestricted $50,000 award.

United States Artists, a Chicago-based arts nonprofit, founded its program in 2006. It aims to honor recipients for their past contributions to the arts and to support their ongoing artistic and professional development. To that end, the organization stipulates that the cash award may be used for anything from creating new work to paying rent or obtaining health care. In 2020, United States Artists was able to distribute $20 million in direct funding to nearly 4,000 artists in need.

McCarthy is a 2020 Sundance New Frontier Story Lab Fellow, 2020 Eyebeam Rapid Response Fellow and a 2019 Creative Capital Grantee. Her work has been exhibited at the Barbican Centre, Fotomuseum Winterthur, Haus der elektronischen Künste, SIGGRAPH, Onassis Cultural Center, IDFA DocLab, Science Gallery Dublin, Seoul Museum of Art and the Japan Media Arts Festival. McCarthy examines social relationships in the midst of surveillance, automation and algorithmic living.

She is also the creator of p5.js, an open-source art and education platform that prioritizes access and diversity in learning to code, with more than 1.5 million users. She expands on this work in her role as a director of the Processing Foundation, whose mission is to serve those who have historically not had access to the fields of technology, code and art in learning software and visual literacy.