Monday, March 5 marks Guild Hall’s 33rd Academy of the Arts Achievement Awards. This year’s honorees are Audrey Flack, Gail Sheehy, Harris Yulin, and Sheri Sandler. The ceremony starts at 6 p.m. at The Rainbow Room in New York City and awards will be presented by David Brigham, Tom Wolfe, Alec Baldwin, and Guild Hall Executive Director Andrea Grover. Monday night’s ceremony will be hosted by Eric Fischl, artist and Academy President, and writer Iris Smyles. Additionally, there will be live performances from guitarist G.E. Smith and The History of Art Band.
The tradition of honoring writers, artists, actors, and performers began in 1985 when Guild Hall first honored Kurt Vonnegut, Willem de Kooning, and Alan Alda. Since then, over 200 individuals have joined the Academy of the Arts jury to honor residents of the East End, with past honorees including Elaine Stritch, Billy Joel, Bruce Weber, and Jules Feiffer (to name just a few).
“Artists have always been the engine of Guild Hall,” Grover reflected. “We are deeply proud of the powerhouse that is the Academy of the Arts membership, and their belief in annually honoring exceptional artistic achievements, the likes of Audrey, Gail, and Harris. And we would be remiss if we did not champion indefatigable supporters like Sheri Sandler, who fearlessly advocates for creative expression and access to arts for all.”
This year, Audrey Flack is receiving the award for visual arts. She is a Photorealist painter and sculptor and considered the first Photorealist to be featured in the Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collections. Her work is also included in collections at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the Whitney Museum, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, and internationally at the Canberra Museum in Australia. Currently, Flack is a visiting professor of drawing and anatomy at the University of Pennsylvania. David Brigham, President and CEO of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, will present this award.
Actor Harris Yulin will receive the achievement award for performing arts. He boasts an accomplished resume, having appeared in theatre productions, Broadway and off-Broadway, of Death of a Salesman, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and Next Time I’ll Sing To You. His film and television work includes End of the Road, Scarface, Mister Sterling, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and 24. Beyond acting, he taught at the Julliard School for a decade, narrated films for PBS, and lent his voice to radio and audiobooks. Actor Alec Baldwin will present this award.
Gail Sheehy will receive the award for literary arts. She has written 17 books, one of which is the New York Times bestseller, Passages, a work that was also recognized by the Library of Congress as one of the top ten most influential books. She has contributed to magazines as a journalist and has been a contributing editor at Vanity Fair since the 1980s. As a journalist, she has won numerous awards and written about some of the most prominent political and cultural figures of our time. Most recently, Sheehy was part of the cohort of psychiatrists to co-author The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists Assess a President. Author and journalist Tom Wolfe will present this award.
Sheri Sandler will receive the award for leadership. In her lifetime, Sandler has been a collector, a curator, advocate, and founder of the Reba Judith Sandler Foundation – an organization created to honor her mother and support women’s safety and economic independence. She holds degrees in finance, decorative arts and design, and appraisal studies. She has curated exhibits at the Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, worked with many non-profits, and lead discussions about sexual assault on college campuses. She serves on the boards of many organizations that aim to provide security, safety, and stability to women, girls, and families. Andrea Grover will present the award to Sandler.
Tickets for the event can be purchased online or by phone. Funds raised from ticket sales will be used to continue Guild Hall’s mission of celebrating art on the East End through education, exhibits, programming, and the performing arts.
For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit guildhall.org or call the special events department at 631-324-0806.