The Yaddo Artist Medal recognizes individuals who exemplify a level of achievement and commitment to their art that reflects the tradition of excellence that has always been a hallmark of the Yaddo residency program, as well as celebrating those who have been supportive and understand the sense of community that it has long promoted among artists. The medal is a beautifully designed piece of art created for us by James Siena. Past recipients have included Philip Roth, Laurie Anderson, Martin Puryear, David Del Tredici, Amy Hempel, and Alfred Leslie. This year, the medal will be given to four contemporary artists as well as one posthumous award, fulfilling our commitment to acknowledge outstanding contributions that were postponed due to the pandemic.

An intimate dinner in honor of Yaddo’s history of support for the world’s leading artists, with an awards ceremony hosted by Alan Cumming.

Thursday, November 21

6 PM Cocktails

7 PM Seated dinner & program

Gotham, 12 East 12th St., NY 10003

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Alan Cumming is a Scottish American actor, singer, writer, producer, and director. His most recent work includes devising and performing a solo dance theatre piece, "Burn" about the Scottish poet Robert Burns, which opened the Edinburgh International festival, toured Scotland and ended at the Joyce in NYC; directing and producing a comedy drama podcast series about a sperm bank heist; hosting the cultural phenomenon The Traitors on Peacock, and performing his solo cabaret show Alan Cumming is Not Acting His Age around the world, ending up on Broadway. His new solo show Uncut was developed at Yaddo in the fall of last year. 

Yaddo Artist Medal Honorees: Lisa Cortés, Chester Himes, Young Jean Lee, Tarik O’Regan, Amy Sillman

Lisa Cortés is a Grammy-nominated and Emmy-winning director and producer. She is known for generating bold, explosive art that shines light on important stories hidden from view. From executive-producing the Academy Award-winning film Precious to producing and directing 2023’s “enthralling documentary” (Variety Magazine) Little Richard: I Am Everything, Cortés sparks cultural change through works of unrivaled excellence. Cortés founded her own production company, Cortés Filmworks, and is committed to telling complex, powerful stories from new perspectives and elevating the talent often overlooked by the mainstream.

Chester Himes (1909 – 1984) was a Great American Novelist whose influence continues to impact young writers. “[His] unapologetic zenith of Black identity was a revelation in every sense of the word” (The New York Times). A contemporary of Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and his fellow Yaddo artists James Baldwin and Langston Hughes, Himes came to Yaddo in 1948 following a stint in prison, where he’d begun writing. His novels explored the complexities of race, injustice, and urban life. Born in Jefferson City, Missouri, Himes gained recognition for his Harlem detective series, featuring characters like Coffin Ed Johnson and Gravedigger Jones. His portrayal of Black protagonists challenged societal norms, earning him international acclaim. His novels A Rage in Harlem and Cotton Comes to Harlem were adapted into successful films. Himes's literary contributions earned him accolades, including the Grand Prix for the best detective novel of the year in 1957. For a time, he joined the literary expat community in Paris, then moved to Moraira, Spain, where he spent the remainder of his days.

Photo: Blaine Davis

Young Jean Lee is a playwright, director, and filmmaker who has been called “the most adventurous downtown playwright of her generation” by The New York Times. She is the first Asian-American female playwright to have had a play produced on Broadway, and she has written and directed 10 shows in New York with Young Jean Lee's Theater Company. Her plays have been performed in more than 80 cities around the world and have been widely published. Her short films have been presented at The Locarno International Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, and BAMcinemaFest. Lee is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, two OBIE Awards, a Prize in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a PEN Literary Award, a United States Artists Fellowship, and the Windham-Campbell Prize. She has worked as a television writer for Disney, Hulu, and FX, and is currently developing an original television series with Made Up Stories for Fifth Season and CJ ENM America. She is the Denning Family Professor in the Arts at Stanford University.

Photo: © Tarik O'Regan

Tarik O’Regan is a London-born composer based in San Francisco. In recent years, much of his work has investigated and been influenced by his dual Arab and Irish heritages.  2024 sees performances of his work at Deutsche Opera Berlin, the Wigmore Hall in London, and in major tours by the Dunedin Consort and Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Recently he was awarded a Coronation Medal by His Majesty King Charles III for his Agnus Dei, commissioned for the Coronation Service at Westminster Abbey in 2023. Tarik is a Yaddo Artist-in-Residence 2004 and 2006 and was invited onto the Yaddo Board of Directors in 2016.

Photo: Calla Kessler for The New York Times

Amy Sillman is an acclaimed visual artist, best known for her rigorous formal engagement with painting and iterative drawings, and an excavation of form lying between abstraction and figuration. She has developed a rich, open-ended exploration of how painting might work in relation to diverse media as well as questions of time and sequence. Sillman's work has been exhibited widely at institutions and galleries in the United States and Europe, and is held in many private and public collections, including MoMA, the Whitney Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Tate Modern in London, the Brooklyn Museum, and the National Gallery in Washington D.C. In 2019, she curated the widely heralded exhibition "The Shape of Shape" for the MoMA Artist's Choice series. Her collection of art writing, Faux Pas, is in its third reprint. Sillman is represented by Gladstone Gallery, New York, where her current solo exhibition, To Be Other-Wise is currently on view through June 15, 2024.

Explore Further

Collectively, Yaddo artists have won 82 Pulitzer Prizes, 34 MacArthur Fellowships, 71 National Book Awards and a Nobel Prize in Literature. Learn more about the impact of Yaddo.

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