National Portrait Gallery Will Hold Its Inaugural American Portrait Gala Nov. 15

First-ever Portrait of a Nation Prize Honors Henry “Hank” Aaron, Cpl. Kyle Carpenter, Aretha Franklin, Carolina Herrera and Maya Lin
July 21, 2015
News Release

The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery will hold its inaugural American Portrait Gala Sunday, Nov. 15. The event will honor individuals whose portraits are in the museum’s collection because of their exemplary achievements: The Portrait of a Nation Prize celebrates individuals 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 future generations can explore American identity through the evolving art of portrayal. The event’s founding chairs are Wayne and Catherine Reynolds. Co-chairs are the museum’s 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 honorees—Hank Aaron, Cpl. Kyle Carpenter, Aretha Franklin, Carolina Herrera and Maya Lin—are today’s history makers,” said Kim Sajet, director of the museum. “We are continually working to build the Portrait Gallery’s 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.

National Portrait Gallery

The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery tells the multifaceted story of America through the individuals who have shaped its culture. Through the visual arts, performing arts and new media, the Portrait Gallery portrays poets and presidents, visionaries and villains, actors and activists whose lives tell the American story.

The National Portrait Gallery is part of the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture at Eighth and F streets N.W., Washington, D.C. Smithsonian information: (202) 633-1000. Website: Connect with the museum at @NPG, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Tumblr.

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Bethany Bentley

(202) 633-8293