2017 Academy of the Arts Benefit Dinner - Guild Hall
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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

    Principal of her eponymous landscape design firm since 1984, Edwina creates landscapes with a focus on simplicity and sustainability for private and public clients around the world. Her work has been published in many major publications and her book "Fresh Cuts" won the Quill and Trowel award for garden writing in 1998. In 2013, Edwina founded the Perfect Earth Project to promote toxin-free landscapes for the health of people, their pets, and the planet. She is the 2017 recipient of Guild Hall's Academy of the Arts Lifetime Achievement Award for the Visual Arts. In 2018 she received the NY School of Interior Design's Green Design Award and The Isamu Noguchi Award.

  • 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 most known for Crazy For You, Contact, The Scottsboro Boys, and The Producers. Her work has been honored with Olivier, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Lucille Lortel and a record six Astaire Awards.

    She 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 from Lincoln Center”.

    She directed and choreographed the critically acclaimed musical The Scottsboro Boys on Broadway and in the West End, where it was honored with the 2014 Evening Standard Award for Best Musical.

    Other Broadway credits include Oklahoma!, Show Boat, Prince of Broadway, Bullets Over Broadway, Big Fish, Young Frankenstein, Thou Shalt Not, The Music Man, The Frogs, Big, Steel Pier, Picnic, and Crazy for You.

    Off-Broadway credits include: The Beast in the Jungle, Dot, 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.

    Her London West End productions include Crazy For You, Oklahoma!, Show Boat, Contact, The Producers, and Young Frankenstein.

    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 directed and choreographed the Broadway bound Ahrens/Flaherty musical Marie for The 5th Avenue Theater in Seattle. In collaboration with the Williamstown Theatre Festival, she directed the play Photograph 51 for Audible. 

    She is an Associate Director for Lincoln Center Theater and a member of the Board of Directors for the Ronald O. Perelman Center for the Performing Arts located at the World Trade Center.

    She is the recipient of the George Abbott Award for Lifetime Achievement in the American Theater and an inductee of the Theater Hall of Fame in New York City.

    Learn more at susanstroman.com

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