On March 5, NEFA gathered 150 guests and staff for a reception at the Four Seasons in Boston to honor arts leaders Larry Simpson and Newell Flather as well as celebrate the launch of a new grant and a new public art award. View more Celebration of Leadership photos on Facebook

Larry Simpson has served on the board of directors of the New England Foundation for the Arts since 2006, including six years as Board Chair. Larry is senior vice president for Academic Affairs and Provost at Berklee College of Music with a career-long commitment to jazz and jazz artists.

A man on the left in a suit holds up an inscribed glass bowl; two women in the background applaud.
L to R: Celebration of Leadership awardee Larry Simpson, NEFA executive director Cathy Edwards, and Board Chair Ann Smith. Photo by Jeffrey Filiault.

The event was an opportunity to celebrate the launch of New Work New England, a program providing grants directly to the region’s performing artists to support the creation and production of new work with the potential to engage New England communities. Support for New Work New England comes from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Seedlings Foundation, and from individual donations. One of the first New Work New England grants will be made in honor of Larry Simpson.

Newell Flather was instrumental in bringing the Fund for the Arts to the New England Foundation for the Arts in 1981. The Fund supports public art and the artists who make it. Newell co-founded GMA Foundations, and has been a respected leader in the field of philanthropy for more than 40 years. 

7 people on a riser at a reception; a podium is on the right.
L to R: Board chair Ann Smith, artist Robert Freeman, NEFA's Cathy Edwards, architect Greg Downes, Celebration of Leadership awardee Newell Flather, Parker Foundation trustee Sophy Theam, event emcee and NEFA board member Marco Werman. Photo by Jeffrey Filiault.

The celebration included the announcement of the inaugural Newell Flather Award for Leadership in Public Art, an annual $5,000 unrestricted award to acknowledge an artist or curator whose leadership in public art has made an impact on the quality of life in Boston’s communities. The inaugural awards were made to Silvia Lopez Chavez, visual artist, muralist, and designer; and Kate Gilbert, curator and executive director of Now + There, a nonprofit organization dedicated to public art.

An older gentleman is seated in the center and two young woman crouch down to pose together.
Newell Flather, center, with the inaugural recipients of the Newell Flather Award for Leadership in Public Art: curator Kate Gilbert of Now + There (left) and artist Silvia Lopez Chavez (right). Photo by Ann Wicks.

Thank you to our honorary co-hosts, Roger Brown, President of Berklee College of Music; Anani Dzidzienyo, Associate Professor at Brown University; and Edward Henry, President of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation; and to our entire host committee and event sponsors.

If you would like to support New Work New England, please visit our Donate page. And thank you!

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