Anna Deavere Smith to Receive the 19th Annual Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize
The Gish Prize Trust today announced that playwright, actress, author and educator Anna Deavere Smith has been selected to receive the 19th annual Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize, given annually as a legacy from the legendary film and stage actresses. Established in 1994, it is widely regarded as one of the most prestigious awards in the arts and is also one of the largest, currently bearing a cash value of approximately $300,000. Throughout the years, the Prize's mission has helped to support artists who have pushed the boundaries of their art forms and contributed to social change, therefore paving the way for future generations of artistic innovators.
Recipients of the Gish Prize are nominated by members of the arts community and selected by a distinguished committee of arts professionals. Under guidelines set forth in the will of Lillian Gish, the prize is awarded "to a man or woman who has made an outstanding contribution to the beauty of the world and to mankind's enjoyment and understanding of life." In honoring Anna Deavere Smith, the selection committee chose her from a group of 30 esteemed finalists from the fields of dance, visual art, music, theater, film, writing, architecture, and interdisciplinary arts.
Anna Deavere Smith stated, "The Gish Prize provides credibility and recognition for artists who invented a new path for themselves and their work. The Gish sisters leave an enduring lesson for all artists that forging their own a path is worth the effort. I am deeply honored and can't imagine a greater honor than having my name linked with the incomparable Dorothy and Lillian Gish."
The selection committee for the Gish Prize was committee chair Vishakha Desai, Senior Advisor for Global Programs at the Solomon R Guggenheim Foundation and President Emerita of the Asia Society; Garth Fagan, choreographer; George Negroponte, visual artist; Rebecca Robertson, President and Executive Producer of the Park Avenue Armory; and Darren Walker, Vice President of Education, Creativity and Free Expression for the Ford Foundation.