Academy Honors Artists

Arts Section 2-28-17.indd


Guild Hall presents the Academy of the Arts Achievement Awards Dinner on Monday from 6 to 10 PM at The Rainbow Room in NYC. The night will be hosted by artist and academy president Eric Fischl, along with writer Iris Smyles.

This year the academy will honor Audrey Flack for visual arts. Flack’s award will be presented by David Brigham. Gail Sheehy will be honored for literary arts, with her award presented by Tom Wolfe. Harris Yulin, honored for performing arts, will receive his award from Alec Baldwin. Sheri Sandler will receive the Special Award. There will also be a live performance by GE Smith and The History of Art Band.

Since 1985, Guild Hall has recognized achievement, with the first jury honoring Kurt Vonnegut, Willem de Kooning, and Alan Alda. Since then, Guild Hall has revered a pool of influential visual, literary, and performing artists with ties to the East End.

Flack is a painter, sculptor, and a pioneer of photorealism. She is the first photorealist to have work included in MoMA’s permanent collection. Her work can also be found in the collections of The Met, the Guggenheim, and the Whitney, among others. She is also a professor of drawing and anatomy. Flack has received honorary doctorates, written books, and is a banjo player in Audrey Flack & the History of Art Band.

Sheehy is the author of 17 books, including the New York Times bestseller, Passages. The book was named one of the 10 most influential books of our time by the Library of Congress. As a literary journalist, Sheehy has contributed to New York magazine and Vanity Fair since 1984. As a journalist, Sheehy dared to blaze a trail in a man’s world, traveling to war zones and going undercover. She has created psychological character portraits of national and world leaders such as the Clintons, Bushes, Margaret Thatcher, Mikhail Gorbachev, Saddam Hussein, and others.

Yulin made his New York acting debut in 1963 in James Saunders’ Next Time I’ll Sing To You, with James Earl Jones and Estelle Parsons at the Phoenix Theatre. Prior to that, he studied in Los Angeles with actor Jeff Corey. He has collaborated with Guild Hall many times, including The Glass Menagerie, with Amy Irving, in 2009, and last September’s Are You Now or Have You Ever Been. His first film was in 1968, an adaptation by Terry Southern of John Barth’s End of The Road, directed by Adam Avakian, which he starred in with longtime friends James Earl Jones and Stacy Keach. He has also taught, acted, and directed at the Juilliard School for 10 years.

Sandler discovered her love for the arts after moving to New York. She attended the Master’s Program in the History of Decorative Arts and Design at Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, and worked there as an assistant curator. She also worked for the Brooklyn Museum and Architectural Digest.

In honor of her mother, Sandler created the Reba Judith Sandler Foundation. The foundation focuses on small, community-based organizations providing direct services to women and girls in the areas of safety and economic independence. At Guild Hall, she has hosted a screening and discussion of The Hunting Ground, about sexual assault on college campuses, with producer Amy Ziering; and a reading with Gloria Steinem followed by a discussion with young women from the community.

This year’s honorees are in good company with past honorees including Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew Broderick, Nathan Lane, Laurie Anderson, Steven Spielberg, Billy Joel, Elaine Stritch, Mel Brooks, Alec Baldwin, Ralph Gibson, Julian Schnabel, Roy Lichtenstein, Bruce Weber, April Gornik, Jules Feiffer, Walter Isaacson, Jon Robin Baitz, E.L. Doctorow, Edward Albee, Joseph Heller, and Joe Pintauro; with Special Awards given to Eli Wallach, Anne Jackson, Dina Merrill, and Peter Jennings.

Funds raised benefit Guild Hall’s mission of celebrating the artistic spirit on the East End. For tickets, call the special events department at 631-324-0806.

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