NEW YORK – Author-visual artist Faith Ringgold, poetry critic Helen Hennessy Vendler and photographer Susan Unterberg will be honored this spring at the American Academy of Arts and Letters ' annual awards and induction ceremony.
The academy, an honorary society based in Upper Manhattan, announced the awards Thursday.
Ringgold, known for her paintings, sculpture and intricate narrative quilts and her themes of social justice, will receive a Gold Medal for Painting. Vendler, who has been cited for championing the works of Seamus Heaney, Jorie Graham and many others, will be given a Gold Medal for Belles Lettres and Criticism. Unterberg will be presented an award for Distinguished Service to the Arts, in recognition of her founding the organization Anonymous Was a Woman, which since 1996 has provided grants to artists who identify as women.
"In addition to their own remarkable talent as creative artists, these three recipients have dedicated parts of their careers to furthering the work of other artists, be it through criticism and essays that taught a public how to read and understand poetry, art and activism that helped make space for Black women artists, or innovative awards that have recognized hundreds of women artists," the academy's president, Kwame Anthony Appiah, said in a statement.
“This year’s recipients reflect the inevitable dialectic between individual creativity and community in the life of the arts.”
The ceremony is scheduled for May 24 at the academy, which also will formally welcome its new members, among them author Percival Everett, dancer-choreographer Yvonne Rainer and the playwright-actor Anna Deavere Smith.