Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Jazz Pianist Helen Sung to Receive Distinguished Alumna Award, Playwright Meghan Kennedy to receive Young Alumna Award

The Kimbell Art Foundation will receive the 2017 E. William Doty Award, the highest honor bestowed by the College of Fine Arts at The University of Texas at Austin. The Doty Award, now in its 22nd year, is named for the founding dean of the College of Fine Arts and recognizes individuals or organizations who have distinguished themselves through extraordinary professional achievement and/or demonstrated a productive dedication to the college.

This year, the college will also honor jazz pianist Helen Sung (B.M., 1993, M.M. 1995) with the E. William Doty Distinguished Alumna Award and playwright Meghan Kennedy (M.F.A., 2011) with the E. William Doty Young Alumna Award.

The Kimbell Art Foundation, which owns and operates the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, was established in 1936 by Kay and Velma Kimbell, along with Kay’s sister and her husband, Dr. and Mrs. Coleman Carter. The Kimbells willed their estate to the foundation to fund the creation of a museum “of the first class.” Today the Museum is internationally renowned for both its collections and for its architecture. Its original building, designed by famed architect Louis Kahn, is regarded as one of the outstanding architectural achievements of the modern era. The Carters’ daughter, Kay Fortson, serves as president of the foundation.

The Kimbell Art Foundation has generously supported to the College of Fine Arts and its Department of Art and Art History since 1999. It established the Kay Fortson Chair in European Art and has contributed significantly to the Department’s faculty and graduate student travel, research funds, and acquisitions for the Fine Arts Library.


Distinguished Alumna Award recipient Helen Sung was an aspiring classical pianist before discovering jazz during her undergraduate studies in the Butler School of Music. Sung went on to graduate from the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance (at the New England Conservatory) and win the Kennedy Center's Mary Lou Williams Jazz Piano Competition. Now based in New York City, Sung is an active bandleader/composer and has received several commissions and grants, including a 2014 Chamber Music America/Doris Duke Foundation New Jazz Works Grant. Inspired by her experience at the Monk Institute, Sung stays involved in music education through residencies/workshops, and joined the jazz faculties at the Juilliard School and Columbia University in 2015. 


Young Alumna Award recipient Meghan Kennedy is an M.F.A. graduate of the Michener Center for Writers, and she studied under playwriting faculty in the Department of Theatre and Dance as part of her fellowship. Her play Napoli, Brooklyn will have a world premiere co-production by the Long Wharf Theater and the Roundabout Theatre in New York City in 2017.  It is also the recipient of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Grant.  Meghan’s play Too Much, Too Much, Too Manypremiered at the Roundabout Underground in 2014 and was published by Dramatists’ Play Service. Kennedy is currently under commission from The Roundabout Theatre Company, Williamstown Theater Festival and The New York State Council of the Arts/New Georges Theater. Her play Lightis the winner of the David Calicchio Emerging American Playwright Prize. Meghan’s plays have been produced around the U.S., as well as in Ireland and Sweden. She is an alum of Page 73 and Ars Nova Play Group. She was a writer for the TV show Falling Water (USA) and is currently a writer for the upcoming TV show, Gethsemane (Netflix). She lives in Brooklyn.   

The Kimbell Art Foundation, Sung and Kennedy will be honored at a private event in January.

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