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Sheila O'Donnell elected as Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters

26 February 2019

Sheila O'Donnell elected as Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters

We are pleased to announce that Sheila O’Donnell has been elected as one of five new Foreign Honorary Members of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the first Irish architect to receive this honour. Others elected this year include the British novelist Rachel Cusk and the Brazilian photographer Sebastiao Salgado.

The Academy has 75 Foreign Honorary Members including eleven other architects from around the world. The three current Irish members are all writers; John Banville, Edna O’Brien and Colm Tóibín.

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, Mark Twain, 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 75 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.

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 the 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 May 24 to June 17.

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