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Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery to honor five visionaries

The Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery will honor five innovative Americans during its second American Portrait Gala, Nov. 19.

WASHINGTON —The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery will present its second biennial American Portrait Gala on Nov. 19. The event will honor five individuals who have made an impact on the nation’s shared history, development and culture.

History of Bold Innovation

Bill T. Jones

Bill T. Jones

The 2017 honorees are former Secretary of State Dr. Madeleine K. Albright; medical doctor and HIV/AIDS researcher David D. Ho, M.D.; artistic director, choreographer, and dancer Bill T. Jones; film director, producer, writer and actor Spike Lee; and multi-award-winning actress Rita Moreno. As leaders in their respective fields, these five luminaries were selected because of their exemplary achievement in politics and diplomacy, the arts, science, entertainment, and advocacy. In addition, their portraits will reside in the museum’s collection.

“This year’s honorees represent America’s accomplished experts on the forefront of their diverse fields,” said Kim Sajet, director of the Portrait Gallery. “It is an honor to host such extraordinary individuals and to further our mission of building the museum’s collection to reflect our society’s change makers, artists and leaders through portraiture.”

Gala Raises Funds, Awareness

In addition, the goal of the American Portrait Gala is to raise $1 million to strengthen the museum’s endowment


Former Secretary of State Dr. Madeleine K. Albright.

for exhibitions, which supports compelling exhibitions that tell the dynamic and multifaceted story of America.

Also, the event’s co-chairs are H.E. Martin Dahinden, Ambassador of Switzerland to the United States, and Mrs. Anita Dahinden; Robert and Arlene Kogod; and David and Alice Rubenstein. Also, the vice chairs are Mr. and Mrs. Michael H. Podell; Mr. Joseph P. Ujobai; Mr. Eduardo Ardiles and Netflix. The gala’s program chairs are Mr. Tommie L. Pegues and Mr. Donald A. Capoccia.

Furthermore, the Portrait Gallery held its inaugural American Portrait Gala in 2015 and honored Major League Baseball Hall-of-Famer Henry “Hank” Aaron, U.S. Marine and Medal of Honor recipient Cpl. Kyle Carpenter, singer and musician Aretha Franklin, fashion designer Carolina Herrera and designer and artist Maya Lin, all of whose portraits are in the museum’s collection.

Photos Connect More Icons

Also, the original portraits of the honorees were taken by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, Gregory Heisler, Robert Mapplethorpe, Jesse Frohman and Adál Maldonado, respectively. They will be on view in the museum beginning Nov. 17 through Nov. 4, 2018.

Finally, the American Portrait Gallery is part of the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture and is located at Eighth and F streets N.W., Washington, D.C. 

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