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2001 Recipients

Artist
Richard Yarde

Richard YardeRichard Yarde has been a signal presence in the New England art world since the mid-1960s. He has trained generations of young artists at a succession of colleges and universities, and has been Professor of Art at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst since 1990. His own work has enriched our sensibilities as he charted a unique watercolor style. Solo and group exhibitions throughout the country have featured his paintings, which reside permanently in nearly three dozen public collections, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution; and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Yarde tackles the traditionally intimate art of watercolor with uncharacteristic bravado. Unlike oil or acrylic painting, watercolor brooks no mistakes. Yet Yarde paints on a heroic scale with dazzling color, rich symbols and deeply evocative imagery.

Critics have written – and Yarde concurs – that his body of work has been an exploration of his own history. Early on, he painted with joy and verve. He would splash the Roxbury neighborhood where he grew up in the 1950s on large sheets of paper, then turn to rendering imagined scenes from the vibrant jazz world of the Harlem Renaissance.

Catastrophic illness in 1991 sidelined Yarde for a year, with symptoms that included a loss of touch and impaired movement. "As soon as I could," he has said, "I turned to my work again. I was literally trying to heal myself through my process of working and imagery." Yarde's will to create again led to a powerful series of work that confronted his illness and our common mortality, a transformation of the artist from autobiographer to poet of the human condition.

Humanist
Doris Kearns Goodwin

Doris Kearns GoodwinNo one conveys the link between personality and history with a finer touch than historian and biographer Doris Kearns Goodwin. Combining scholarly integrity with public accessibility, she is one of America's most accomplished storytellers.

Goodwin's books are studies in extraordinary people at extraordinary moments in history. She has given us a penetrating political vision of Lyndon Johnson, a sweeping view of the Kennedy and Fitzgerald dynasties, and a portrait of national leadership during crisis, No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The American Home Front During World War II. All were national best-sellers, and she received the 1995 Pulitzer Prize for No Ordinary Time. Goodwin was also awarded the National Humanities Medal and the Sara Josepha Hale Medal.

Her command of the American presidency is matched only by her passion for the American game. Her best-selling memoir of growing up as a baseball fan, Wait Till Next Year, may focus on the Brooklyn Dodgers, but she has evolved into a Boston Red Sox fan. She holds the distinction of being the first female journalist to enter the Red Sox locker room.

As a regular panelist on the PBS show, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, and as a political commentator and analyst for NBC, Goodwin has marshaled the wit and wisdom to illuminate the murky business of government, measuring the ephemera of politics against the standards of history.

Goodwin has written of presidents that "At their best, all effective leaders share a gift for defining a vision, for moving people toward a direction for the future." Through her writings, her speeches and her commentary, she points the way for us all.

Interpretive Scientist
Professor Lynn Margulis

Lynn MargulisProfessor Lynn Margulis is known for asking big questions. Over her celebrated research career, she has formulated what is now generally accepted as the likely explanation of the origin and evolution of life on earth. Sometimes branded a maverick for her disregard for scientific dogma, she has made profound contributions to our understanding of the development and structure of life forms.

In an age of narrow specialties, Margulis's research has cut a wide swath across disciplines as disparate as molecular and cellular biology, medicine, climatology, geology and paleontology. Her interdisciplinary collaborations are legend in the scientific community.

A gifted and dedicated teacher, Margulis applies her scientific principles to her pedagogy. Her symbiotic model of evolution is mirrored in the lab and classroom, where her students work in collaborative groups. Through her work and her example, she has inspired a generation of students to question conventional wisdom and push back the limits of knowledge.

Lynn Margulis is not a scientist who remains cloistered in the laboratory. She is the author or co-author of 23 books that range from highly specialized professional literature to children's books to lucid popular science. Her best-known work for general readers, The Gaia Hypothesis, co-authored with British scientist James Lovelock, details the ways in which life has shaped the surface and atmosphere of the Earth. She has also participated in the development of science teaching materials at levels from elementary school to graduate school.

Margulis is the Distinguished University Professor of Geosciences at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Among her recent honors are Sigma Xi's Proctor Prize for Scientific Research in 1999 and the National Medal of Science in 2000.

Cultural Organization
New Bedford Whaling Museum

New Bedford Whaling MuseumFounded in 1903 to preserve the whaleship Lagoda and the legacy of its captain, the New Bedford Whaling Museum has its eyes on the city's future.

When the museum opened a new wing last July, attendance during the traditionally busy summer season tripled. From the sturdy Lagoda to the two leviathan skeletons that greet visitors at the new entrance, the museum's exhibits touch equally on the humble life of the men who shipped out for two years at a stretch and on the mysterious nobility of the cetaceans they hunted. Both informative and deeply moving, the New Bedford Whaling Museum anchors the 13-block New Bedford Whaling National Historic Park, the key to the city's revitalization through cultural tourism.

The history and heritage represented in the museum retain their vitality in New Bedford, where so many families have seafaring links. The museum's Faces of Whaling project created a public archive of whaling family stories as told by descendents of Cape Verdean, Azorean, West Indian, Native American and African American whalers.

The rich resources of the museum provide an ideal base for curriculum development and teacher training. In partnership with other cultural and historical organizations, the museum offers an accredited summer institute for teachers to explore the area's rich cultural heritage. Several teachers also worked with the museum to integrate the new blue whale exhibit – built around the first blue whale skeleton brought ashore in a century – with the Massachusetts Department of Education Curriculum Frameworks.

Weaving history, marine science and public education together, the New Bedford Whaling Museum has shown that the intensely local can also be universal.

Organizational Leadership
Robert Brustein

Robert BrusteinAs a drama critic and teacher in the 1950s, Robert Brustein dreamed of creating a permanent ensemble company of actors to construct a body of vital and passionate theater.

How fortunate we are that he brought his dream to full fruition in Massachusetts, where he established the American Repertory Theatre in 1979 and has served as its artistic director ever since. Brustein's vision of a theater of the imagination comes to life through the A.R.T.'s permanent company – a group of performers whose talents work together with a synergy of long-time collaborators and who have become almost like family to theater-goers.

A leading intellectual of his generation, Brustein has demonstrated his high artistic standards through adaptations of numerous classic texts for the A.R.T. stage. His adaptation of Luigi Pirandello's Six Characters in Search of an Author won the Boston Theatre Award for Best Production in 1996.

By its nature, theater is a collaborative art form fed by the constant infusion of new ideas and talent. The A.R.T. has welcomed theatrical visionaries who share the company's hunger to explore the boundaries of the stage. In 1986, Brustein established the Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard to enable young theater professionals to work in concert with the resident ensemble and to pass the visionary torch to new generations.

A member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Brustein is also drama critic for The New Republic. In his reviews and his cogent books, he entreats American theater to aspire to great art. And in the A.R.T., he has shown exactly how it's done.

Education
North Bennet Street School

North Bennet Street SchoolIn our age of mass-produced disposable goods, the North Bennet Street School preserves the enduring values of artisanry and traditional hand craftsmanship. Incorporated in 1885 in Boston's North End as a settlement house to teach vocational skills to new immigrants, the school trains students for such skills-intensive careers as bookbinding, cabinet and furniture making, preservation carpentry, piano technology, jewelry and violin making and restoration.

At the North Bennet Street School, skills and traditions are literally passed down by hand. Students learn by working alongside masters in an adaptation of the time-honored apprenticeship system. The school's artisan graduates protect and preserve New England's material culture.

NBSS alumni apply their skills in workshops, museums, libraries and archives throughout the country. Versed in a deep understanding of wood, leather, paper and metal, they have learned to care for and restore books, furniture, violins, pianos, historical architecture and jewelry. Through their restoration skills and knowledge of traditional artisanry, North Bennet Street School graduates provide a vital link to earlier modes of expression. Moreover, many of them create tradition anew in their workshops, giving a contemporary voice to traditional arts.

Even as they learn, the school's student artisans provide invaluable community service. Bookbinding students are preserving the rare book collection of the American School for the Deaf. In a partnership between Young Audiences and the Boston Public Schools, NBSS violin-making students restored violins for public school music instruction.

One of the only schools in the country teaching traditional crafts, the North Bennet Street School is a unique treasure within the Commonwealth – repository where our finest traditions are steadily renewed, where master turns to student and says, "well made!"

Community
Community Music School of Springfield

Community Music School of SpringfieldFrom pianissimo beginnings of just 90 students in 1983, the Community Music School of Springfield has swelled to a crescendo of 900 students each week, so that today it has touched more than 10,000 people with music that will resonate throughout their lives.

Founder and executive director Eric Bachrach calls "giving people the opportunity to make music...sacred work," and CMSS has undertaken that calling with intense fervor. Students from Springfield, Holyoke and 20 other cities and towns study jazz, Latin, gospel, classical and other forms of music with talented professionals, sharing each other's cultures in the process. Because its communities are some of the state's most disadvantaged, CMSS is building its scholarship endowment to eliminate financial barriers to the joy of music. More than 30 percent of students receive scholarships and financial aid.

CMSS collaborates with other organizations to bring music to all ages. The school offers after-school instrumental classes at middle schools and Springfield's Jewish Community Center as well as demonstration programs for senior citizens and families at Springfield Housing Project properties. CMSS has also helped early-childhood educators integrate music into their curricula.

The Community Music School has shown great resilience. Bouncing back from a 1994 flood that devastated its facility, the school purchased and rehabilitated an Art Deco building, creating new studios and classrooms and improving accessibility for people with disabilities.

The landmark downtown facility also makes a showcase for performances. At more than 45 professional programs and 30 student recitals each year, the people of Greater Springfield come together to experience the world's rich musical traditions and to celebrate the talent in their midst.

Catalyst
Arts/Boston

Arts/BostonIt's hard to say who should be more grateful to Arts/Boston – the hundreds of thousands of people who have been able to attend performing arts events at reduced ticket prices, or the 165 member organizations who have discovered new audiences and expanded earned income through Arts/Boston's programs.

Now in its 25th anniversary season, Arts/Boston has filled 2.5 million seats and returned more than $30 million to the performing arts community. Ticket sales reimbursements to performing arts groups have swelled from $53,000 in 1978 to $2.3 million last year. In the financial world, that would be excellent compound interest.

In fact, Arts/Boston is in the business of compounding interest – interest in the arts. The organization's BosTix booths occupy prominent spots at Faneuil Hall and in Copley Square. Boston's exclusive source for half-price, day-of-show tickets, the BosTix booths also provide unparalleled visibility for member groups.

Arts/Boston's audience development programs go well beyond the impulse buyer. The Arts/Mail catalog reaches 25,000 households with offers of discounted advance tickets, amplifying Arts/Boston's commitment to make the arts accessible to people at every income level. In addition to direct audience recruitment, Arts/Boston also provides its member organizations with professional support through workshops on box office management, direct mail and other audience development issues. Not content to rest on past achievements, Arts/Boston's educational outreach program, "Tomorrow's Audiences," introduces inner-city youth ages 9-15 to a broad array of arts performances.

Performing arts are like a chemical reaction – sometimes they need a catalyst to bring the elements together. Arts/Boston does just that, joining audiences and artists in the joyous dynamic of performance.

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© Massachusetts Cultural Council 2016