Our Mentor Martha Richards – Recipient of VintAge Award


The Women in the Arts & Media Coalition will host a digital presentation of the 2020 VintAge Award, which celebrates the voice and vision of women in the arts and media as they age, on Saturday, November 14 at 3pm EST/12pm PST via Zoom. The 2020 Elsa Rael VintAge Award honoree is Martha Richards, the Founder and President of WomenArts, originally The Fund for Women Artists, an affiliate member organization of the Coalition. The awards ceremony will include speakers who have worked with Ms. Richards, throughout her illustrious career, as well as several musical performances.

Every two to three years, the Women in Arts and Media Coalition hosts VintAge, an event celebrating the voice and vision of women in the arts and media as they age. The Coalition brings together members of our community to recognize and pay tribute to those who have dedicated their time and energy to supporting each other, professionally and personally, through the years, as they continue to produce vibrant and exciting creative work. We also present the Elsa Rael VintAge Award to a woman who has offered significant support to women aging in the arts, as Elsa Rael did through her co-founding of the Coalition and her years of work on the board, as well as her POW (Professional Older Women’s) Theatre Festival at the Public Theatre.

The 2020 Elsa Rael VintAge Award recipient is Martha Richards, the Founder and President of WomenArts. “Martha has dedicated her life to women in the arts at every stage of their career,” says Co-President Yvonne Curry. Adds Co-President Avis Boone, “Her Advocacy is for women around the world, and always with an eye to Diversity and Inclusion.”

The award will be presented by Dame Rosemary Squire, one of the most prominent women in British theatre of the modern era. The business that she co-founded in 1992, Ambassador Theatre Group, went on to become the world’s number one live-theatre company. She is currently co-founder, Joint CEO and Executive Chair of Trafalgar Entertainment, a premium international live entertainment business and home to the newly announced Trafalgar Theatre (set to open Spring 2021), Trafalgar Theatre Productions, Trafalgar Releasing, Stagecoach Performing Arts, London Theatre Direct, Luke Shires Marketing, Jonathan Church Theatre Productions, Chiswick Cinema and More2Screen.

The event will be co-hosted by Avis Boone and Yvonne Curry, Co-Presidents of the Coalition, along with Shellen Lubin and Mary Hodges, Co-Presidents of the League of Professional Theatre Women, the organization which founded the Coalition through the concerted efforts of Elsa Rael, for whom this award is named and who will also be in attendance.

The ceremony will include speakers who have worked with Ms. Richards throughout her illustrious career including Paul Tetreault (Director of Ford’s Theater in Washington, DC), Alice Tuan (nationally-acclaimed, internationally-produced Chinese American playwright), Rebecca Strang (former Marketing Director at StageWest), Christine Young (Director of the Honors College at University of San Francisco; co-author of Not Even: A Study of Gender Parity in Bay Area Theatres), Jovelyn Richards (writer, performance artist, storyteller, radio host, and diversity consultant), Deborah Magdalena, (founder of Spoken Soul Festival/SWAN Day Miami), Melinda Pfundstein (Executive Director of Statera Arts in Cedar City, UT), Sophie Dowllar (2019 recipient of the StateraArts’ Martha Richards Visionary Woman in Leadership Award), and Mary Watkins (composer of Fannie Lou Hamer). The presentation will also include performances by award-winning singer/songwriters Lydiah Dola and Jennifer Hill.

Whether she's hosting a spoken word event, music festival, or playing the role of a santera or vixen, Deborah Magdalena makes every emotion super real. This performance artist has acquired impressive TV & Film credits for the past twenty years including Sesame Street (CTW), Apollo Comedy Hour (Tribune Entertainment), Safe Harbor (Warner Brothers), Striptease (Castle Rock), Holyman (Caravan), and For Love or Country (HBO). As a published spoken word artist Deborah has released three CDs, a chapbook, and the spoken word musical FUNKdalena. As an artist-activist she’s the founder of Spoken Soul Festival, a twelve year old, three-day festival that helps women artists go from novice to professionals. As an educator Deborah for the past eight years has led in-school presentations in numerous high schools for the National YoungArts Foundation, is the co-founder of Piano Slam, and led various workshops for local art organizations like Miami Light Project and Institute of Contemporary Art Miami. Most recently and for the seventh year in a row, she was invited by the Arsht Center and Ailey Arts & Education Foundation to serve as the Creative Communication instructor for Ailey Camp Miami.

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