National Portrait Gallery Will Honor Aretha Franklin, Maya Lin, More at Inaugural American Portrait Gala

The National Portrait Gallery will honor Aretha Franklin at its first ever Portrait Gala COURTESY OF ROLLING STONE

Singer Aretha Franklin will be a recipient of the new Portrait of a Nation Prize.


The National Portrait Gallery announced today that it will host its first-ever American Portrait Gala on Sunday, November 15, in the courtyard of its Washington, D.C., home. The event will honor five individuals with a new Portrait of a Nation Prize: baseball hall of famer Henry “Hank” Aaron, U.S. Marine and Medal of Honor-recipient Kyle Carpenter, singer Aretha Franklin, fashion designer Carolina Herrera, and designer and artist Maya Lin. The Portrait of a Nation Prize is being designed by American sculptor Barton Rubenstein.

According to a statement by the museum, the goal of the event is to “raise $1 million to establish an endowment for exhibitions so that future generations can explore American identity through the evolving art of portrayal.”

The museum’s director, Kim Sajet, said in a statement, “Telling the history of this nation through the people who made it is core to our mission.” The gala’s founding chairs, Wayne and Catherine Reynolds, will host the event alongside Smithsonian museum chairman and co-chair Steve Hamp and his wife Sheila Hamp. Other co-chairs include Robert and Arlene Kogod and David and Alice Rubenstein.

The honorees will dine at the private home of Ambassador of France to the United States and co-chair Gérard Araud, which sounds like a very nice time.

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