The American Academy of Arts and Letters was founded in 1898 as an honor society of the country’s leading architects, artists, composers, and writers. Founding members include William Merritt Chase, Kenyon Cox, Daniel Chester French, Childe Hassam, Henry James, Theodore Roosevelt, Elihu Vedder, and Woodrow Wilson. In addition to electing new members as vacancies occur, the Academy seeks to “foster and sustain an interest in Literature, Music, and the Fine Arts” by administering over 70 awards and prizes, exhibiting art and manuscripts, funding performances of new works of musical theater, and purchasing artwork for donation to museums across America.
When it holds its annual induction and award ceremony in mid-May, Calvin Trillin, secretary, will induct fourteen members into the 250-person organization and President Yehudi Wyner will induct three foreign honorary members. Joyce Carol Oates will deliver the centennial Blashfield Foundation Address. An exhibition of art, architecture, books, and manuscripts by new members and recipients of awards will be on view in the galleries from May 18 to June 11.
Foreign Honorary Members
CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE, writer of Nigeria
KAIJA SAARIAHO, composer of Finland
ZADIE SMITH, writer of England
Click here for a full list of newly elected Members of the Academy
Congratulations, Queen Chimamanda!!!
Photo credits: Junot Díaz – photograph by Nina Subin
Ursula K. Le Guin – photograph by Marian Wood Kolisch