Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture Announces 2019 Awards Dinner and Honorees

Visual Arts

Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture, one of the country’s preeminent artist residencies, will hold its 48th annual Awards Dinner at Cipriani 42nd Street on Tuesday, April 23, 2019. Celebrating Anonymous Was A Woman (Susan Unterberg), Francesco Clemente, Paula and Peter Lunder, Lorraine O’Grady, with tribute to David Beitzel Awards Dinner on Tuesday, April 23, 2019 in New York City exceptional talent and outstanding dedication to the visual arts, Skowhegan will present four awards: the Governors’ Award for Service to Artists to Anonymous Was a Woman, Susan Unterberg; Skowhegan Medal for Painting to Francesco Clemente (F’83); Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney Award for Outstanding Patronage of the Arts to Paula and Peter Lunder; Skowhegan Medal for Conceptual and Cross-Disciplinary Practices to Lorraine O’Grady (F’99). The event will also feature a special tribute to David Beitzel (A’82), a Skowhegan trustee from 2011 – 2019.

The 2019 Awards Dinner will begin with cocktails at 6:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 7:30 p.m., and an after party featuring Papi Juice and special musical guests from 9:00 p.m. – midnight. The evening is chaired by Chiara Edmands, Ann and Graham Gund, Jennie C. Jones (A’96, F’14), Jennifer New, and Alan Wanzenberg, with honorary co-chairs David Driskell (A‘53, F ‘76, ‘78, ‘91, ’04), David A. Greene, President, Colby College, Darren Walker, and after-party co-chairs Derrick Adams (A ‘02, F ’13), Sarah Hogate Bacon, Caroline Hoffman, Elle Pérez (A ’15), Amitha Raman, Arthur Simms (A ‘85, F ’10), and Sable Elyse Smith (A ’15). Proceeds from the evening support Skowhegan’s program, including the scholarships that are provided to 95% of all attending artists.


SUSAN UNTERBERG will be awarded the Governors’ Award for Service to Artists, presented by Anonymous was a Woman Award Recipients. Anonymous Was A Woman is an unrestricted annual grant of $25,000 given annually to ten women artists over 40 years of age in recognition of their accomplishments, artistic growth, originality, and potential. The Award was created anonymously in 1996, partly in response to the National Endowment for the Arts ceasing its grants to individual artists. To date, the Award has been given to 230 artists, more than 70 of those having attended and taught at Skowhegan. In July of 2018, New York-based photographer Susan Unterberg (b. 1941), came forward as the founder and patron, stating “I founded Anonymous Was A Woman to fill a void that I witnessed personally.”

FRANCESCO CLEMENTE (F’ 83) will be awarded the Skowhegan Medal for Painting by poet, curator and critic Vincent Katz. An American-Italian
artist investigating philosophical questions about the nature of consciousness and the self, Clemente was recognized as a principal figure in the Italian Transavanguardia movement his unique vision for a truly multicultural art. Living and working between India and the USA for over four decades, he became a well-known figure in the art scene of 1980s, collaborating on work with Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat, and illuminating poetry by Robert Creeley, Allen Ginsberg and others. Clemente embraces diverse mediums and material including oil on canvas, pastel, watercolor, fresco, and printmaking, and his work frequently depicts symbolic motifs and the human form.

PETER AND PAULA LUNDER will be awarded the Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney Award for Outstanding Patronage of the Arts, presented by David C. Driskell (A’53, F’76, ’78, ’91, ’04). Art collectors and philanthropists, the Lunders are dedicated to transforming lives and communities through art. In 1995 the Lunders pledged the lead gift to build the Colby College museum’s Lunder Wing, and in 2007 they promised their collection of more than 500 works of art to the college. The Lunders have endowed several positions at the Colby museum, including the Lunder Curator of American Art, the Lunder Curator of Whistler Studies, and the Anne Leland Lunder Curatorial Fellow. In 2018 the Lunders established a need-based financial aid fund for undergraduate students from Maine at the Maine College of Art.

LORRAINE O’GRADY will be awarded the Skowhegan Medal for Conceptual and Cross-Disciplinary Practices, presented by Julie Mehretu. Lorraine O’Grady is a conceptual artist and cultural critic working in various genres, including text, photo-installation, video, and performance. The goal of her diptychs is not to produce a mythic “reconciliation of opposites,” but rather enable a conversation between dissimilars. An early adopter of digital technology, O’Grady created a website,, that has become a model for the online mini-archive.


For over 70 years, Skowhegan has brought together emerging and established artists on its remote Maine campus for an intense and immersive summer of art making. The early roster of impressive attendees—paired with the founders’ commitment to aesthetic and intellectual freedom—established the school as a prominent force in American art. Today, it remains a profound experience where artists can push the boundaries of their practice and learn from a diverse group of peers and mentors within a rural landscape steeped in the legacy of those artists who came before.

Contact: Abby Addams