WASHINGTON, DC.- The Smithsonians National Portrait Gallery
will hold its inaugural American Portrait Gala Sunday, Nov. 15. The event will honor individuals whose portraits are in the museums collection because of their exemplary achievements: The Portrait of a Nation Prize celebrates personalities for their accomplishments in the arts, business, entertainment, military service, sports and their commitments to service. The 2015 recipients are American 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.
The goal of the American Portrait Gala is to raise $1 million to establish an endowment for exhibitions, so that future generations can explore American identity through the evolving art of portrayal. The events founding chairs are Wayne and Catherine Reynolds. Co-chairs are the museums chairman, Steve Hamp, and his wife Sheila Hamp; Robert and Arlene Kogod; David and Alice Rubenstein; and the Ambassador of France to the United States Gérard Araud, who is hosting a private dinner for the honorees at his residence.
Telling the history of this nation through the people who made it is core to our mission, and these honoreesHank Aaron, Cpl. Kyle Carpenter, Aretha Franklin, Carolina Herrera and Maya Linare todays history makers, said Kim Sajet, director of the museum. We are continually working to build the Portrait Gallerys collection to reflect American achievement by highlighting those who make a difference, and these five people are exemplars in their fields. The American Portrait Gala will take place in the Robert and Arlene Kogod Courtyard, a signature element of the renovated National Historic Landmark Building shared by the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Guests will be treated to cocktails, a seated dinner, presentations of the Portrait of a Nation Prize designed by American sculptor Barton Rubenstein and a special performance.