Thelma Golden wins Gish Prize

Wednesday, October 25, 2023
 Thelma Golden wins Gish Prize

The Gish Prize Trust announced that Thelma Golden, who as Director and Chief Curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem is internationally renowned as an advocate for and collaborator with generations of Black artists, has been selected to receive the 30th annual Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize in recognition of her continuing contributions to the arts.

The Prize, established in 1994 through the will of legendary screen and stage actress Lillian Gish, known as the First Lady of Cinema, is one of the most prestigious honors given to artists and their supporters in the United States and bears one of the largest cash awards, currently valued at approximately $250,000.

The Gish Prize is given each year to a highly accomplished figure from any discipline of the arts who has pushed the boundaries of an art form, contributed to social change, and paved the way for the next generation—in the words of Lillian Gish, an artist or advocate “who has made an outstanding contribution to the beauty of the world and to [humankind’s] understanding and enjoyment of life.” The selection committee for the 2023 Gish Prize chose Thelma Golden from a field of distinguished finalists in the fields of visual and performing arts, literature, and arts administration. She now joins a three-decades-long list of honorees that in recent years has included Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Sonia Sanchez, Ava DuVernay, Gustavo Dudamel, Suzan-Lori Parks, Meredith Monk, Spike Lee, Anna Deavere Smith, Maya Lin, Trisha Brown, Bill T. Jones, and Chinua Achebe.

“As a curator and museum director who has been privileged to work for and on behalf of artists for my entire career, I am humbled to receive this prize that was created by an artist and has been given to so many creative leaders I greatly admire,” said Golden. ”Working in service of artists in general, and very specifically Black artists, has allowed me to engage broadly in the world. I gratefully accept the Gish Prize and wholly acknowledge what an honor it has been able to provide space, alongside the many institutional colleagues, Board members, and supporters who are equally committed to advancing the work these artists do.”

Main Image :Thelma Golden, courtesy Gish Prize Trust. Photo credit: Julie Skarratt.

Stephanie Cime

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