of the state's most innovative theater artists, Tina Packer
was trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, was a member
of the Royal Shakespeare Company and performed in London's
West End and in repertory companies throughout Great Britain.
Her gift to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts was to establish Shakespeare & Company in Lenox in 1978 as a center for performance, education and training. Over the years she has developed a method for training actors that combines traditional British instruction in voice training, movement, stage fighting and clowning with a deep exploration of the language in the text.
Packer's own Women of Will trilogy is based on Shakespeare's powerful female characters. With dignity, humor and dramatic force, the sequence distills her vision of theater that delivers the passion of its Elizabethan roots to modern audiences with poetry, with poise and with power.
without exaggeration as "America's Homer," David
McCullough is one of the Commonwealth's, and the nation's,
great treasures. McCullough has given us the plain-speaking
Harry Truman; reflected on the rise of Theodore Roosevelt;
told of the heady political and economic will that accompanied
the construction of the Panama Canal. McCullough is the storyteller
who enthralls us with the unfolding drama of our past and
its lessons for our present.
His five books have never gone out of print, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Truman sold more than 1 million copies. McCullough's broader fame derives from his work in documentary film and television, particularly for his introductions to more than 100 episodes of the PBS series The American Experience.
McCullough embodies the admonition to think globally and act locally. Based in West Tisbury on Martha's Vineyard, he has been instrumental in preserving several historic and architecturally significant structures in his home town.
Washburn is the driving force behind the creation of Boston's
Museum of Science; an accessible museum that combines natural
history, the physical and applied sciences and medicine under
Washburn and his wife, Barbara, have also devoted attention to the exploration of several of the most dramatic places on earth. Through ground-based and aerial cartography, the Washburns have taken the measure of places that dazzle the imagination: Mount McKinley, the Grand Canyon, Mount Everest the Presidential Range.
In 1988, the National Geographic Society awarded the Washburns its Centennial Award for "an illustrious career of mountaineering, exploring, mapping and museum administration," a recognition of their work bridging the gaps of knowledge.
In 1981, Jeremy Alliger had a bold vision for dance and over the years he has built an organization to realize it. Since taking its first tentative steps onto the stage, Dance Umbrella has blossomed into the most active year-round presenter of dance in New England and a major presence on the national dance scene.
As Founding Director and Producer, Alliger has always been committed to expanding the boundaries of dance and developing an audience that shares his passion for the art. Dance Umbrella's programs have explored the traditions of Flamenco and Japanese Butoh, and have been instrumental in the revival of tap and the artistic recognition of hip-hop. Exercising an inclusive vision of the art, Dance Umbrella also presented a festival of aerial dance and the stereotype-breaking International Festival of Wheelchair Dance.
Alliger has proved a master of building enthusiastic audiences by engaging the general public. He begins by presenting dance of only the highest quality, then stages question-and-answer sessions after performances to break down barriers between artists and audiences.
Springfield Library & Museums Association
The Springfield Library & Museums Association has been called "the Little Smithsonian" for its remarkable collection of books, artwork, natural history specimens, science exhibits and local history documents and artifacts - all brought together in a group of distinctive buildings on the green campus of the Quadrangle.
The Association is integrally involved in the Springfield schools, offering expanded programs during school vacation weeks and integrating its collections with school curricula.
In addition to serving the immediate community, the institutions of the Springfield Library & Museums Association are a magnet for visitors to the Pioneer Valley. The Association museums have been hailed by Yankee Magazine as one of New England's "must-see attractions" and have received the Hospitality Excellence Award from the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce for the quality of their service to visitors.
Massachusetts College of Art
1873, the Massachusetts Legislature listened to the forceful
arguments made by Bay State industry leaders and created what
is still the nation's only freestanding public college of
art and design. The Massachusetts College of Art was given
two weighty charges: to educate the citizens of the Commonwealth
in the visual arts, and to promote the vital role of visual
art and design in furthering economic development. It has
been successful on both counts, emerging as a powerful cultural
force in the life of the state.
The bedrock of MassArt's success is an intensive and rigorous academic education founded on the liberal arts and graced with some of the finest art and design studio facilities in the country. Moreover, MassArt remains within the reach of any talented student in Massachusetts, regardless of means or background. Its graduates pursue careers in art, design, education and scholarship.
MassArt is a powerful advocate for the arts, maintaining that arts education is a lifelong process to which all citizens should have access.
Wainwright is an artist so attuned to the importance of culture
in the fabric of community that she has conceived some of
Boston's most enduring celebrations.
She is perhaps best known as the founder of First Night - the quintessential conjunction of civic pride and the arts that began in Boston and has spread literally around the globe. But her infusion of creativity into community life extends well beyond. For example, in 1969 she initiated the Great Boston Kite Festival, which has continued under the aegis of the Boston Parks Department since 1983. In 1990 she was one of the instigators of the Somerville Garden Awards, which bring together the artists of Somerville to recognize the city's gardeners.
Her current three-year Millennium Quilt Project will ultimately create a dozen quilts to be exhibited in the year 2000. Each quilt speaks to the concerns of a small group, ranging from recent immigrants to Gloucester fishermen's wives to South Boston teenagers working to curb teen suicide.
The LEF Foundation
LEF Foundation demonstrates that arts patronage is indeed
a creative undertaking. Founded in 1985 to help make the arts
a powerful and accessible force in people's lives, the Foundation
explicitly supports innovative efforts to expand the boundaries
of artistic expression. When a project arises from an organization
or community small in size but large in aspirations, the LEF
Foundation is often the first supporter on the scene, offering
the validation to attract additional support and provide essential
encouragement to the artists involved. In recent years the
Foundation has sharpened the focus of its direct funding on
the creation of new works.
The impact is heightened by the personal involvement of Lyda Kuth, the Cambridge-based Associate Director and a founding trustee of the LEF Foundation - whose commitment often begins, rather than ends, with the presentation of a check. She has also been a catalyst within the philanthropic community, helping launch the Arts Funders Affinity Working Group to target areas of funding needs and bring a united voice to advocacy for the arts.
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