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Sheila O’Donnell is first Irish Architect to be elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters

Published: Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Sheila O'Donnell co-founder of O'Donnell+Tuomey Architects, is among the new members and the first Irish Architect to be elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

When the American Academy of Arts and Letters holds its annual induction and award ceremony in mid-May, Lorrie Moore, secretary, will induct eleven members into the 250 person organization and President Billie Tsien will induct five foreign honorary members. David Del Tredici will deliver the 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 24  May to 17 June.

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. Early members include William Merritt Chase, Childe Hassam, Julia Ward Howe, Henry James, Edward MacDowell, Theodore Roosevelt, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, John Singer Sargent, and Edith Wharton. The Academy’s 250 members are elected for life and pay no dues.

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 the country.

Newly Elected Members are:
Ian Frazier
Edward P. Jones
Suzan-Lori Parks
Claudia Rankine
Stacy Schiff
Grace Schulman
David Sedaris
Natasha Trethewey
Terry Tempest Williams

Chen Yi
Meredith Monk

Foreign Honorary Members
Leo Brouwer, Composer of Cuba
Rachel Cusk, Writer of England
Sheila O’Donnell, Architect of Ireland
Sebastião Salgado, Photographer of Brazil
Adam Zagajewski, Poet of Poland


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