Monday, November 17, 2008

Ford's Theatre Society to Receive National Medal of Arts

This is a press release I received today, courtesy of my friend and colleague Liza Lorenz:


Award Is the Highest Given to Artists and Arts Institutions by the U.S. Government

Chairman Wayne R. Reynolds and Director Paul R. Tetreault Receive Award at White House Ceremony

Ford’s Theatre Also Receives Volk Lincoln Honor from the Lincoln Forum

President George W. Bush has selected Ford’s Theatre Society as a 2008 National Medal of Arts winner. Ford’s Theatre was honored for “presenting the theatrical arts in our Nation’s Capital, and for helping to preserve the memory of our Nation’s 16th President, Abraham Lincoln,” according to the citation signed by President George W. Bush.

The National Medal of Arts is the highest award given to artists, arts institutions and arts patrons by the United States Government. The National Medal of Arts is awarded by the President of the United States to individuals or groups who, in his judgment, “...are deserving of special recognition by reason of their outstanding contributions to the excellence, growth, support and availability of the arts in the United States." Ford’s Theatre Society is among nine recipients honored in 2008.

“Ford’s Theatre is of great importance both historically and culturally—it embodies Abraham’s Lincoln’s legacy, especially his love of the arts and their ability to uplift and inspire in times of great turmoil,” said Wayne R. Reynolds, Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Ford’s Theatre Society. “We are thrilled that the President has honored our work in the arts with this prestigious award.”

“We are honored to be selected by President Bush for this award,” said Paul R. Tetreault, Director of Ford’s Theatre Society. “The award recognizes the important contribution that Ford’s Theatre has made to the cultural landscape through both its theatre and education programs. As we prepare for the grand reopening of the newly renovated theatre and museum, this award confirms the value of the work we are doing in the arts and to celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s legacy.”

“This award comes at a time of incredible growth and expansion,” explained Rex W. Tillerson, Chairman of the Ford’s Theatre Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Campaign and Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees. “As part of our Capital Campaign, we are undergoing the most extensive renovation of the site since 1968, building a new Center for Education and Leadership and expanding our education programming to focus on the life and legacy of Abraham Lincoln. This award honors both the institution’s past work and the exciting time to come.”

Reynolds and Tetreault received the National Medal of Arts award on behalf of Ford’s Theatre in a ceremony at the White House on November 17.

Ford’s Theatre also received the Volk Lincoln Honor from the Lincoln Forum in honor of its contributions to the Lincoln legacy. Tetreault accepted the award on behalf of Ford’s Theatre at the Lincoln Forum Symposium on November 17.

National Medal of Arts
During the past 23 years, more than 200 extraordinary patrons and artists in the fields of visual, performing and literary arts have been honored. With this medal, the President recognizes the wealth and depth of creative expression of America's artists. Annually a vast number of nominations are submitted from citizens across the country for consideration by the National Council on the Arts.

This lifetime achievement award recognizes the extraordinary accomplishments of individuals engaged in the creation and production of the arts in the United States. The arts encompass arts education, crafts, dance, drawing, film, graphic/product design, interior design, landscape architecture, literature, classical and popular music, painting, patrons/advocates, photography, presenting, printmaking, sculpture, theater, urban design.

The 2008 recipients are Ford’s Theatre Society, theater and museum, Washington, D.C.; Olivia de Havilland, actress, Paris, France; Fisk Jubilee Singers, choral ensemble, Nashville, TN; Hank Jones, jazz musician, NEA Jazz Master (1989), New York, NY; Stan Lee, comic book writer, producer, Los Angeles, CA; José Limón Dance Foundation, modern dance company and institute, New York, NY; Jesús Moroles, sculptor, Rockport, TX; The Presser Foundation, music patron, Haverford, PA; and The Sherman Brothers, songwriting team, Los Angeles, CA and London, England.

The Lincoln Forum
The Lincoln Forum is an assembly of people who share a deep interest in the life and times of Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War era. Through a roster of activities and projects including symposia, tours, student essay competitions, a newsletter and an annual award to recognize special contributions to the field of Lincoln studies, the Forum endeavors to enhance the understanding and preserve the memory of Abraham Lincoln.

Ford’s Theatre Society
Since it reopened its doors in 1968, more than a hundred years after the April 14, 1865, assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, Ford’s Theatre has been one of the most visited sites in the nation’s capital. Ford’s Theatre has enthralled visitors because of its unique place in United States history, and its mission to celebrate the legacy of Abraham Lincoln and explore the American experience through theatre and education.

Ford’s Theatre Society works to present the Theatre’s nearly one million visitors each year with a high quality historic and cultural experience, enhancing the vibrancy of this historic site, an important tool for promoting the ideals of leadership, humanity and wisdom espoused by Abraham Lincoln.

Since the arrival of Paul R. Tetreault as Director, Ford’s Theatre has been recognized by the critics and theatergoing public for the superior quality of its artistic programming. With works from the nationally acclaimed Big River to the regional premiere of Trying and world premiere of Meet John Doe, Ford’s Theatre has undoubtedly begun to make its mark on the American theatre landscape.

In addition, through the leadership of Wayne R. Reynolds, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, the mission of Ford’s Theatre has recently been expanded to include education as a central pillar of the organization, equal to that of producing theatre of the highest quality. As Ford’s Theatre looks to the future, the health of the organization will be defined and determined not only by the quality of the productions on the stage but also by the success of its educational programming in teaching about the life, Presidency and lessons of leadership of Abraham Lincoln.

As part of this expanded mission, Ford's Theatre is undergoing the most extensive renovation project to take place since the building reopened to the public in 1968: The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Campaign, a $50 million capital campaign. The newly renovated theatre is scheduled to reopen in February 2009, while the newly renovated museum will reopen in spring 2009.

For more information on Ford’s Theatre, please visit

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1 comment:

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