The trailblazing composer, singer, and interdisciplinary artist Meredith Monk has won the twenty-fourth Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize. She will receive approximately $250,000 and will be honored during a ceremony at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on October 26.
Established in 1994 through the will of legendary stage and screen actress Lillian Gish, known as the “First Lady of Cinema,” the prize recognizes artists from any discipline who have pushed the boundaries of an art form, contributed to social change, and paved the way for the next generation.
“I am humbled and grateful to receive the Gish Prize,” Monk said. “It’s exceptional for being a prize that a great artist decided to give to other artists, and even more special for the values that Lillian Gish expressed when she said it should recognize contributions to ‘the beauty of the world.’ I believe, as she did, that art can be a healing force, a source of light during dark times. With boundless admiration for her, and profound respect for the artists who received this prize before me, I am thrilled to have been chosen for this one-of-a-kind award.”
The selection committee for the 2017 Gish Prize included Richard Armstrong, director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation; Mario Garcia Durham, president and CEO of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters; Amir ElSaffar, trumpeter and composer; Joseph V. Melillo, executive producer at BAM; and committee chair Janet L. Sarbaugh, vice president-creativity and senior program director for the arts and culture program for the Heinz Endowments. Monk was chosen from among more than sixty-six finalists in the fields of visual and performing arts, literature, and arts administration. Previous recipients of the award include Elizabeth LeCompte, Suzan-Lori Parks, Maya Lin, Trisha Brown, Laurie Anderson, Frank Gehry, Peter Sellars, and Bob Dylan.