The University of Texas at Dallas, with a generous gift from philanthropist Margaret McDermott, has announced the creation of the Richard Brettell Award in the Arts, a biennial honor recognizing established artists in any medium.
The award will be bestowed upon artists whose body of work demonstrates a lifetime of achievement in their field. Winners will receive a $150,000 prize and will participate in a campus residency where they will spend time interacting with faculty and students.
“Dr. Richard Brettell is recognized worldwide for his prolific scholarship, for his charismatic lectures that have introduced thousands to great art, and for his leadership in creating numerous cooperative organizations in which scholars and artists can collaborate in new and rewarding ways,” said Dr. Hobson Wildenthal, executive vice president at UT Dallas. “Margaret McDermott has made a visionary gift that honors her esteemed friend and colleague Rick Brettell, while simultaneously providing a major new enrichment of the cultural life of UT Dallas and the greater Dallas community.”
The campus residency will provide award recipients with access to the innovative work being conducted at UT Dallas in the arts, science and technology. Recipients will have an opportunity to connect with the students and faculties across the full spectrum of the University’s research centers and academic departments. The residency will include a major public lecture along with seminars, faculty round-tables, and extensive interactions with students and with members of the larger Dallas arts community.
Details will follow after an official announcement of the awardee in The Dallas Morning News on Sunday, April 9.
The award may be given to an artist working in any art form including performance, literary and visual arts. The inaugural recipient of the award has been selected by McDermott and Brettell, and will be announced Sunday, April 9.
The award honors Brettell, the Margaret M. McDermott Distinguished Chair of Art and Aesthetic Studies and the Edith O’Donnell Distinguished University Chair. One of the world’s foremost authorities on Impressionism and French painting from 1830 to 1930, Brettell is also the founding director of the Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History at UT Dallas.
“Following the leadership of Mrs. McDermott, the arts have come to play an increasingly important role at UT Dallas.” Brettell said. “This award will further emphasize that role, and ensure that artists in all mediums — architects, painters, actors, photographers, dancers, digital artists, choreographers, poets, novelists — the sky is the limit — will regularly visit UT Dallas and the Dallas metroplex, enhancing the links between the city and our university and inspiring our faculty, staff, and students. It is an immense honor that she suggested that this award, which is modeled on the one honoring her late husband at MIT, be named after me.”
McDermott’s prior contributions to UT Dallas include the McDermott Suite in McDermott Library, the Eugene McDermott Scholars Program, many major endowed professorships, the ongoing UT Dallas Campus Enhancement Project, and the Eugene McDermott Graduate Fellows Program.