2017 Academy of the Arts Benefit Dinner - Guild Hall

Calling all artists!

Our 82nd Artist Members Exhibition Registration Deadline is February 21

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2017 Academy of the Arts Benefit Dinner

Artist Clifford Ross, Tony Award Winner Blythe Danner at the Academy of the Arts Dinner

Event Category:
Monday, March 13
6PM - 10PM
Ticket sales are now closed. Please join us next year.
158 Main Street
East Hampton, NY 11937 United States



Susan Stroman for Performing Arts

Edwina von Gal for Visual Arts presented by artist, designer, and environmentalist Maya Lin

Philip Schultz for Literary Arts presented by the Executive Director of the Poetry Society of America Alice Quinn

Cheryl and Michael Minikes for Special Award for Leadership and Philanthropic Endeavors presented by Broadway producer Roy Furman.

The awards ceremony and dinner was held at The Rainbow Room in New York City and hosted by artist Eric Fischl, Academy President, along with Marty Cohen, Board Chair, and Andrea Grover, Guild Hall’s Executive Director.

  • Cheryl and Michael Minikes

    A deep love of East Hampton, where they have had their home for over 25 years, coupled with an appreciation for the arts and the importance of having a local cultural center are what drives the passion Cheryl and Michael Minikes share for Guild Hall.  A graduate of Queens College in New York City, Cheryl has been a board member of Guild Hall for almost 20 years. She is also a trustee of the 92nd Street Y, a member of the board of the American Friends of the Israel Museum, and is active in a host of other philanthropic efforts. Michael, also a graduate of Queens College and the NYU School of Business, is a senior financial services industry executive. He is currently Vice Chairman of Prime Brokerage at JP Morgan and former Chairman and President of JP Morgan Clearing Corp., the clearing and processing entity of JP Morgan. Michael began his business career at the CPA firm of Spicer & Oppenheim where he became a partner in 1972, specializing in that firm’s securities industry practice.  He joined Bear Stearns in 1978, soon becoming a general partner and then a senior managing director when Bear Stearns incorporated and went public in 1986.  He was a member of the firm’s Board of Directors, and Operations Committee. He served as Treasurer of The Bear Stearns Companies until January, 2008, when he became CEO of Bear Stearns Securities Corp. and joined JP Morgan when it took over Bear Stearns in March 2008. Michael remains active at JP Morgan, focusing on hedge fund and other investment manager clients. In 2014 he was named by Crain’s as one of 200 “Most Connected New Yorkers”. He is active in a host of charitable and community activities. He is Senior Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Mount Sinai Medical Center, a trustee and the former chairman of the Queens College Foundation, a member of the City University Business Leaders Council, and a member of the UJA Wall Street Strategic Council, in addition to many other organizations. Michael and Cheryl are active and enthusiastic participants in Guild Hall events, often opening their home and gardens to host fundraising cocktail parties and dinners. Cheryl was very involved in the recently complete extensive renovation of Guild Hall, recognized in the naming of Minikes Gardens at Guild Hall.
  • Edwina von Gal

    Founder and principal designer of her eponymous landscape design firm since 1984, Edwina von Gal creates landscapes with a focus on simplicity and sustainability for private and public clients around the world. She has collaborated with architects such as Frank Gehry, Annabelle Selldorf, and Richard Meier, and her work has been published in many major publications. Her book Fresh Cuts: Arrangements with Flowers, Leaves, Buds & Branches won the Quill and Trowel award for garden writing in 1998. In 2013, Edwina founded the Perfect Earth Project, a nonprofit organization based in East Hampton dedicated to raising consciousness about the dangers of toxic lawn and garden chemicals for people, their pets, and the planet. Perfect Earth Project educates homeowners and professionals in nature-based landscape management techniques that provide beautiful, safe results at no extra cost. Edwina has served on boards and committees for a number of horticultural organizations and is currently on the board of What Is Missing?, artist Maya Lin’s multifaceted media memorial project about the loss of biodiversity. She is also the Site and Landscaping Expert for the Green Schools Alliance. Most recently, Edwina was appointed as a Master Teacher at the Conway School for the 2015-2016 academic year.
  • Philip Schultz

    One of American poetry’s longtime masters of the art, Philip Schultz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and the founder/director of The Writers Studio, a private school for fiction and poetry writing based in New York City. He is the author of several collections of poetry, including Failure (Harcourt, 2007), winner of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize. These poems give voice to failures of many kinds and yet they are full of tenderness, empathy, and heartbreaking honesty, giving equal praise to the joy of life. Schultz’s most recent book, The Wherewithal, a novel in verse, was released by W.W. Norton in February 2014. His other collections include The God of Loneliness: New and Selected Poems (2010), Living in the Past (2004), and The Holy Worm of Praise (2002), all published by Harcourt. He is also the author of Deep Within the Ravine (Viking, 1984), recipient of The Academy of American Poets Lamont Prize; Like Wings (Viking, 1978), winner of an American Academy & Institute of Arts and Letters Award and a National Book Award Finalist; and the poetry chapbook, My Guardian Angel (Stein, 1986). He has also published a memoir entitled My Dyslexia (Norton, 2011), in which he recounts his difficulties with the debilitating language disability, and his struggles to overcome it. Schultz’s work has been published in The New Yorker, Partisan Review, The New Republic, The Paris Review, Slate, and other magazines. He is the recipient of a Fullbright Fellowship and a 2005 Guggenheim Fellowship in poetry. He also received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry (1981), a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry (1985), as well as the Levinson Prize from Poetry magazine. Schultz lives in East Hampton, New York, with his wife, sculptor Monica Banks, and their two sons, Elias and August.
  • Susan Stroman

    A five-time Tony Award-winning director and choreographer, Susan Stroman’s work has been honored with Olivier, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Lucille Lortel, and a record five Astaire Awards. Most recently she directed the new Off-Broadway play Dot for the Vineyard Theatre. Stroman directed and choreographed The Producers, winner of a record-making 12 Tony Awards including Best Direction and Best Choreography. She co-created, directed and choreographed the Tony Award winning musical Contact for Lincoln Center Theater, which was honored with a 2003 Emmy Award for Live at Lincoln Center. Her Tony Award nominated direction and choreography for the critically acclaimed musical The Scottsboro Boys continues to garner praise with her recent productions at San Diego’s Old Globe Theatre, American Conservatory Theater, the Ahmanson Theatre, and for the Young Vic in London’s West End, where it was honored with the Evening Standard Award for Best Musical. Other Broadway credits include Bullets Over Broadway, Big Fish, Crazy for You, Show Boat, Oklahoma!, The Frogs, The Music Man, Thou Shalt Not, Steel Pier, Big, Picnic. Off-Broadway credits include Flora the Red Menace, And the World Goes Round, Happiness, and The Last Two People on Earth: An Apocalyptic Vaudeville starring Mandy Patinkin and Taylor Mac. For ten years she choreographed Madison Square Garden’s annual spectacular A Christmas Carol. She made her Metropolitan Opera debut directing and choreographing The Merry Widow, starring Renée Fleming. For the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C, she directed and choreographed the new musical Little Dancer. For New York City Ballet, she created Double Feature, a full-length ballet featuring the music of Irving Berlin and Walter Donaldson, and For the Love of Duke, featuring the music of Duke Ellington. Other ballet credits include But Not For Me for the Martha Graham Company and Take Five…More or Less for Pacific Northwest Ballet. Her choreography received an Emmy Award nomination for the HBO presentation “Liza – Live from Radio City Music Hall,” starring Liza Minnelli. She received the American Choreography Award for her work in Columbia Pictures feature film Center Stage. She directed and choreographed The Producers: The Movie Musical, nominated for 4 Golden Globes. She is the recipient of the George Abbott Award for Lifetime Achievement in the American Theater and a member of the Theater Hall of Fame in New York City.

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