Woody Guthrie Prize to Honor American Folk Singer Pete Seeger
An award that honors those who embody the spirit of legendary folk singer/songwriter Woody Guthrie will be presented to American folk singer Pete Seeger during an inaugural event Saturday, Feb. 22 at the Peter Norton Symphony Space in New York City.
The Woody Guthrie Prize will be given annually to the artist who best exemplifies the spirit and life's work of Woody Guthrie by speaking for the less fortunate through music, film, literature, dance or other art forms and serving as a positive force for social change in America.
"We hope that the Woody Guthrie Prize will shed an inspirational light on those who have decided to use their talents for the common good rather than for personal gain," said Nora Guthrie, daughter of Woody Guthrie. "With his dry wit, Woody always preferred to call himself a 'common-ist.' His quote from John Steinbeck's character, Tom Joad, says it pretty simply: 'Wherever children are hungry and cry, wherever people ain't free, wherever men are fightin' for their rights, that's where I'm gonna be.' There are so many people who are living this credo, and they're the ones we will be honoring."
The event will include the Woody Guthrie Prize presentation, a one-on-one Q&A with Seeger and GRAMMY Museum Executive Director Bob Santelli, a musical performance by Seeger and Arlo Guthrie and an additional musical performance by Tony Trischka. The prize will be presented by the Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa, Okla., in conjunction with The GRAMMY Museum.
Proceeds from the event will support the Woody Guthrie Center, a 12,000-square-foot center that features state-of-the-art, interactive exhibits on Guthrie's life, art and creative legacy. The center is home to Guthrie's comprehensive archives, including the original, handwritten version of Guthrie's landmark anthem, "This Land is Your Land," which is available for viewing at the center.
"We are honored to present the first Woody Guthrie Prize to Pete Seeger, whose incredible career pushes the boundaries of how music can make us think, feel and act," said Woody Guthrie Center Executive Director Deana McCloud. "We can think of no better recipient than a colleague, friend and confidant of Woody himself. Pete and Woody are arguably two of the most prolific folk musicians of their lifetimes."
The Woody Guthrie Archives were brought to Tulsa by George Kaiser Family Foundation (GKFF), which purchased them in 2011 from Woody Guthrie Publications in New York. The foundation is underwriting the Woody Guthrie Prize.