Olympia Dukakis to Receive the Commonwealth’s Achievement Award
by Larry Murray
Most recently appearing in The Tempest at Shakespeare & Company, the Academy Award-winning actress and Lowell native Olympia Dukakis will be honored with an Achievement Award by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts at a February 19 ceremony at the State House where Dr. Karl Paulnack of The Boston Conservatory will deliver the Keynote Address. There will be a number of recipients from all across the state who will receive recognition and thanks that day.
The awards are presented every two years by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, as the state honors individuals and organizations that have made extraordinary contributions to our communities, our economy, and the quality of life in Massachusetts. The western part of the state is well represented by Dukakis who joins the creative community of Shelburne Falls, CATA (Community Access to the Arts) of Great Barrington, and the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst, in this year’s notables.
In 2009 the City of Pittsfield was similarly feted, as was Nancy Jane Fitzpatrick of Stockbridge in 2011. Shakespeare & Company 0f Lenox was honored in 2005. The Berkshires continue to be a driving force in the cultural life of the state.
Olympia Dukakis will return to Shakespeare & Company this summer in the title role of Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage and Her Children, directed by the company’s artistic director, Tony Simotes, who also helmed The Tempest in 2012 in which Dukakis played Prospera.
The full roster of 2013 recipients was announced today by the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) and include people and organizations from the arts, humanities, and sciences. They are:
- Achievement: Olympia Dukakis, Lowell
- Art/Science Collaboration: The Ecotarium, Worcester
- Access: Community Access to the Arts (CATA), Great Barrington
- Creative Community: Barnstable; Shelburne Falls
- Creative Learning: The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst
- Cultural Philanthropy: Neil and Jane Pappalardo, Boston
- Leadership: Marvin Gilmore, Boston
- Media: Jared Bowen, WGBH; The Boston Phoenix
“This extraordinary group of institutions and individuals beautifully represents our state’s unique cultural fabric and tells a powerful story of the great public value of the arts, humanities, and sciences,” said MCC Executive Director Anita Walker. “Their collective and individual achievements have contributed enormously to the quality of life in Massachusetts, and I am delighted to honor them at our Commonwealth Awards ceremony in February.”
Three categories, Media, Art/Science Collaboration, and Access, are new to the Commonwealth Awards this year. During the Awards ceremony MCC will also recognize The Boston Children’s Museum, celebrating its centennial, and the American Antiquarian Society, which celebrated its bicentennial in 2012. See full profiles of each of the awardees.
The Awards ceremony keynote address will be delivered by Dr. Karl Paulnack, an acclaimed pianist and director of The Boston Conservatory’s music division. A passionate advocate for music and the arts, Dr. Paulnack’s speech “Why Music Matters” has been translated into six languages. In spring 2009, Linda Ronstadt quoted his speech during her official testimony to the United States Congress on behalf of funding for the arts.
MCC is pleased to welcome award-winning actress, director, producer, teacher, activist, and author Olympia Dukakis back to Massachusetts to receive a Commonwealth Award for Achievement. A Lowell native, Ms. Dukakis received a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award, BAFTA Film Award, Los Angeles Film Critics Award, and Golden Globe Award for her role as Rose Castorini in Moonstruck. She has appeared in more than 130 productions on and off-Broadway, and on stages across the country and around the world. The Boston Conservatory will host A Conversation with Olympia Dukakis on Tuesday, February 19 at 10am for its senior and graduate level theater students.
Each Commonwealth Award winner will receive a medal designed and created by Taunton, Massachusetts-based Reed & Barton. State government leaders will be on hand to present the Awards. The ceremony will also feature performances by the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus and dancers from OrigiNation, Inc. with the O’Shea-Chaplin Academy of Irish Dance.
Presented every two years, the Commonwealth Awards shine a spotlight on the extraordinary contributions the arts, humanities, and sciences make to education, economic growth and vitality, and quality of life in communities across Massachusetts. The Commonwealth Awards ceremony also presents an opportunity for the Massachusetts nonprofit cultural sector to gather and assert its value and make the case for public investment in its work. Past winners include leading artists, writers, and scholars such as Yo-Yo Ma and David McCullough; world-class institutions like Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival and the Peabody Essex Museum; and social innovators like the Boston Cyberarts Festival and the Barbara Lee Family Foundation.
The 2013 Commonwealth Awards ceremony continues this tradition on Tuesday, February 19 with a ceremony at the Massachusetts State House from 1 to 4 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, and registration opens this week. Details and registration information can be found online.
About the Massachusetts Cultural Council
The Massachusetts Cultural Council promotes excellence, access, education and diversity in the arts, humanities and interpretive sciences, in order to improve the quality of life for all Massachusetts residents and contribute to the economic vitality of our communities.
MCC is a state agency committed to building a central place for arts and culture in the everyday lives of communities across the Commonwealth. It pursues this mission through a combination of grants, services and advocacy for cultural organizations, schools, communities and artists. MCC receives an annual appropriation from the state Legislature and funds from the National Endowment for the Arts and other sources.