In a tribute to Senator Claiborne Pell and the Arts, the sixth annual Pell Awards for Excellence in the Arts will honor actress Julie Harris with the New England Pell Award and Robert Redford with the Pell Lifetime Achievement Award on Friday, May 17 in a ceremony at the Rhode Island Convention Center. The event will be hosted by the Trinity Repertory Company.
Criteria for the honor includes excellence in the artist's field, producing work that advances the art form significantly, and betterment of the community through artistic presence and community service. Other honorees include jazz pianist Dave McKenna, photographer Denny Moers, and furniture designer Tim Philbrick. All three will receive the Rhode Island Pell Award.
Redford will be presented with his Lifetime Achievement Award by Massachusetts Senator John Kerry. Redford received an Academy Award in 1981 for his film directorial debut, "Ordinary People." Redford has also directed motion pictures including "A River Runs Through It" and "Quiz Show." As an actor, Redford appeared in the films "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," "The Way We Were," "The Great Gatsby," and "Out of Africa."
In 1980, Redford established the Sundance Institute for aspiring screenwriters and directors. The Institute's annual film festival has become one of the most influential film festivals in the world.
Harris, star of stage and screen, has received the most Tony Awards ever won by a single actor. In 1952, her portrayal of Sally Bowles in the non-musical predecessor to Cabaret, I Am Camera, won Harris her first Tony. Her remaining Tony honored performances include St. Joan in The Lark (1956), Forty Carats (1969), Mary Todd Lincoln in The Last Mrs. Lincoln (1973), and Emily Dickinson in The Belle of Amherst. Harris' film credits include The Member of the Wedding, East of Eden, and The Truth About Women. On television, Harris is best known for her role of Lillimae Clements on Knots Landing. Tickets to the Pell Awards may be purchased for $250, or $500 for patrons. For $2500, sponsors will receive 10 tickets to the ceremony as well as a listing in the program. Corporate sponsors will receive the same for $5000, in addition to priority seating and their corporate logo in the program. Proceeds from tickets will go to benefit artistic programming at the Trinity Repertory Company, fund grants to Pell Award recipients, and provide a Trinity Repertory Conservatory student with a Pell Scholarship. For information and reservations, call Chira DelSesto at the Trinity Repertory Company at (401) 521-1100, ext. 226.
- by Chris Reichheld