Viola Davis to Receive 2012 Pell Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts


Trinity Repertory Company announced today that Rhode Island's own Academy Award-nominated actress, Viola Davis, will be honored with the 2012 Pell Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts at the 16th annual Pell Awards next month. Theater educator Elaine Foster Perry will receive the Charles Sullivan Award for Distinguished Service in the Arts, Brown University President Ruth J. Simmons will receive the Pell Award For Leadership in Arts Education, and J.L. "Lynn" Singleton, President of the Providence Performing Arts Center and Professional Facilities Management, will be honored as the recipient of the Pell Award for Outstanding Leadership in the Arts. All awardees are past or current Rhode Islanders.

The Pell Awards celebration will be held on Monday evening, May 21, 2012 from 5:00PM to 9:00PM at Trinity Repertory Company's Dowling Theater and Pell Chafee Performance Center. The annual fundraising event will be co-chaired by Academy Award-nominee and former Trinity Rep Artistic Director Richard Jenkins and his wife ShaRon Jenkins; Tony Award-winning set designer Eugene Lee and his wife Brooke Lee; and Trinity Rep board member Kibbe Reilly and husband Tom Reilly. Individual tickets to the full event (which includes a VIP cocktail reception as well as a post-ceremony reception featuring hors d'oeuvres, desserts, and an open bar) are $500; a limited number of individual tickets to the ceremony and post-show reception are $250, and corporate sponsorships are available. Proceeds from ticket sales benefit Trinity Rep's artistic and educational programs. Together with business, political and social leaders, guests at this fun and fabulous cocktail affair will mix, mingle, and enjoy delicious food and desserts provided by Russell Morin Fine Catering. For more information and reservations, contact Trinity Rep at (401) 453-9235.

Artistic Director Curt Columbus said, "I'm so proud that we'll be able to offer a sort of homecoming for the stunning and brilliant Viola Davis, and that she'll be joining us to accept the Pell Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts on the very stage where she began her career. For us to be able to count a talent like Ms. Davis among the names who have walked the boards here at Trinity Repertory Company over the years is an honor. To have her back in Providence for this special evening will be nothing less than a delight."

Columbus is also thrilled to bestow the Charles Sullivan Award for Distinguished Service in the Arts on Elaine Foster Perry, an arts educator and advocate beyond compare. "One of the core values of Trinity Repertory Company's mission is its commitment to education – particularly education in our own community," said Columbus. "Elaine Foster Perry exemplifies this in a way that few others can – a celebrated force in arts education for over 40 years in Rhode Island and on the national theater scene, her impact continues to be felt on stages near and far. It's particularly special that we are able to honor her at this year's Pell Awards, as Lifetime Achievement Award-winner Viola Davis was one of her students."

Curt Columbus describes Brown University President and winner of the Pell Award for Leadership in Arts Education as "an invaluable asset" to educating the next generation of artists and arts patrons. "Ruth's outstanding commitment to education, first as a much-lauded student, then teacher, and now university administrator, has been a lifelong passion from which we've all benefitted. We are certainly not the first institution to count Ruth among those we've been able to honor – and we are so lucky to have counted her among our many supporters in Rhode Island over her tenure at Brown, particularly in helping to launch the Brown/Trinity Rep MFA Programs and bring them to the prestige they enjoy today."

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