Support

Esperanza Spaling playing bass against a blue backdrop

American Portrait Gala

Recognizing the accomplishments of notable contemporary Americans whose portraits reside in the National Portrait Gallery collection.

Save the Date

Sunday, November 17, 2019
National Portrait Gallery
Washington, DC

For Event Inquiries: (202) 633-8553 or email NPG_Gala@si.edu.
For Media Inquiries: (202) 633-9989 or email DuncanC@si.edu.

Event Recap

On Sunday, November 19, 2017, the second biennial American Portrait Gala raised $1 million in support of the museum’s compelling exhibitions program.

The black tie event included a chic cocktail reception, seated dinner for 400 beneath the glittering glass canopy of the Robert and Arlene Kogod Courtyard, and a musical performance by four-time Grammy Award-winning artist Esperanza Spalding. During dinner, guests enjoyed presentations of the Portrait of a Nation Prize, recognizing former Secretary of State Dr. Madeleine K. Albright; medical doctor and HIV/AIDS researcher David D. Ho, M.D.; artistic director, choreographer and dancer Bill T. Jones; film director, producer, writer and actor Spike Lee; and multi-award-winning actress Rita Moreno. All recipients have portraits in the museum’s collection and have made significant contributions to the nation’s shared history, development, and culture in fields as diverse as politics, diplomacy, science, the arts, entertainment, and human rights. The portraits of the award recipients will remain on view in the National Portrait Gallery’s “Recent Acquisitions” exhibition through Nov. 4, 2018.

2017 Honorees and Prize Presenters

Photograph portrait of Madeleine Albright, looking straight into camera, wearing black with a gold pin of bird on her shoulder
MADELEINE K. ALBRIGHT
Former Secretary of State
Prize Presented by Robert Redford
Photograph portrait of David Ho, wearing reflective glasses and looking at a display screen showing green and red cellular structures
DAVID D. HO, M.D.
Medical Doctor and HIV/AIDS Researcher
Prize Presented by Gerald H. Friedland, M.D.
Black and white photo of Bill T Jones, shirtless and in dance pose
BILL T. JONES
Artistic Director, Choreographer, and Dancer
Prize Presented by Glenn Ligon
Black and white photo of Spike Lee, with film camera
SPIKE LEE
Film Director, Producer, Writer, and Actor
Prize Presented by Patrick Ewing
Black and white photo of Rita Moreno, sitting and looking towards camera
RITA MORENO
Multi Award Winning Actress
Prize Presented by Andrea Mitchell
  • Man and woman seated at a table

    Smithsonian Board of Regents Chairman David Rubenstein with Beth Rudin DeWoody.
    Courtesy of Zach Hilty / BFA.

     

     

  • Man and woman in formalwear against a blue backdrop

    Annie Totah and Leo Sahakian.
    Courtesy of Paul Morigi, 2017/ AP Images for National Portrait Gallery

     

  • Group of four people in formalwear

    2017 Portrait of a Nation Prize recipient David D. Ho, M.D. and Barton Rubenstein with 2017 Portrait of a Nation Prize presenter Gerald H. Friedland, M.D. and Smithsonian Institution staff member Karri Brady.
    Courtesy of Zach Hilty / BFA.

  • Woman in a formal red dress and a man in a tuxedo against a blue backdrop

    2017 American Portrait Gala Co-Chairs H.E. Martin Dahinden, Ambassador of Switzerland to the United States, and Mrs. Anita Dahinden.
    Courtesy of Paul Morigi, 2017/ AP Images for National Portrait Gallery

  • Portrait of a Nation Pirze

    Portrait of a Nation Prize designed by Barton Rubenstein.
    Courtesy of Zach Hilty / BFA.

  • Man in a black tuxedo suit (Robert Redford) and a woman in black (Madeleine K Albright)

    2017 Portrait of a Nation Prize presenter Robert Redford with 2017 Portrait of a Nation Prize recipient Dr. Madeleine K. Albright.
    Courtesy of Zach Hilty / BFA.

  • Large group of people in formalwear standing in a hallway

    2017 Portrait of a Nation Prize presenters Glenn Ligon and Gerald H. Friedland, M.D. with 2017 Portrait of a Nation Prize recipients Bill T. Jones; David D. Ho, M.D.; and Dr. Madeleine K. Albright; Director of the National Portrait Gallery Kim Sajet; 2017 Portrait of a Nation Prize recipients Rita Moreno and Spike Lee; and 2017 Portrait of a Nation Prize presenters Patrick Ewing; Robert Redford; and Andrea Mitchell.
    Courtesy of Zach Hilty / BFA.

  • Two African American men--one in formalwear and the other  in a leather jacket and hat

    2017 Portrait of a Nation Prize recipients Bill T. Jones and Spike Lee.
    Courtesy of Zach Hilty / BFA.

     

  • Group of 5 teenagers in formalwear against a blue backdrop

    Portrait of a Nation Prizes handled by members of the museum’s Teen Museum Council and Portraits Alive! program.
    Courtesy of Paul Morigi, 2017/ AP Images for National Portrait Gallery

  • Woman in white playing the bass against a bright blue backdrop

    Musical performance by four-time GRAMMY award-winning artist Esperanza Spalding.
    Courtesy of Zach Hilty / BFA.

  • Man and woman seated at a formal table

    National Portrait Gallery Commissioner Alma Gildenhorn with Fred Malek.
    Courtesy of Zach Hilty / BFA.

  • wo couples in formalwear standing in the Great Hall

    2017 American Portrait Gala guests.
    Courtesy of Zach Hilty / BFA.

  • Asian American man standing next to his portrait

    2017 Portrait of a Nation Prize recipient David D. Ho, M.D. with his portrait by Gregory Heisler.
    Courtesy of Paul Morigi, 2017/ AP Images for National Portrait Gallery

  • Woman and  man in black formalwear standing in the Great Hall

    Julia Brooks and artist Jesse Frohman.
    Courtesy of Zach Hilty / BFA.

  • Man ad woman against a blue backdrop

    National Portrait Gallery Commissioner Randi Levine with National Portrait Gallery Commissioner and 2017 American Portrait Gala Program Chair Tommie L. Pegues.
    Courtesy of Paul Morigi, 2017/ AP Images for National Portrait Gallery

The Committee

Co-Chairs

H.E. Martin Dahinden, Ambassador of Switzerland to the United States,
      and Mrs. Anita Dahinden
Robert and Arlene Kogod
David and Alice Rubenstein

Vice-Chairs

NETFLIX
Mr. and Mrs. Michael H. Podell
Joseph P. Ujobai and Eduardo J. Ardiles

Program Chairs
Mr. Tommie L. Pegues and Mr. Donald A. Capoccia

Host Committee
Senator Richard and Cynthia M. Blumenthal
Dorchester Towers & Apartments on Columbia Pike in Arlington
      by Lola C. Reinsch
Steven and Sheila Hamp
Herbalife Nutrition
The Honorable Mary V. Mochary
Rabbi Amy R. and Gary L. Perlin
Roger and Vicki Sant
Karla Scherer and Harve Ferrill

Honorary Committee
Wayne and Catherine Reynolds, American Portrait Gala Founding Chairs
amfAR, the foundation for AIDS Research
Senator Roy Blunt
Congressman Tom Cole
Patrick Ewing
Gerald H. Friedland, M.D.
Jesse Frohman
Timothy Greenfield-Sanders
Gregory Heisler
Senator Patrick J. Leahy
Congresswoman Barbara Lee
Glenn Ligon
Adál Maldonado
Congresswoman Doris Matsui
Andrea Mitchell
Sibylle and Robert Redford
The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, New York.
Barton Rubenstein

Portrait of a Nation Prize

The National Portrait Gallery worked closely with internationally renowned sculptor and public artist Barton Rubenstein to create the Portrait of a Nation Prize, a limited edition award constructed of mirror polished stainless steel.

American Portrait Gala Archive

2015

On Sunday, November 15, 2015, the National Portrait Gallery was pleased to honor:

Aretha Franklin

Prize presenter: The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr.

Carolina Herrera

Prize presenter: Lee Daniels

Corporal Kyle Carpenter

Prize presenter: General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr., USMC

Hank Aaron

Prize presenter: The Honorable John Lewis

Maya Lin

Prize presenter: David Adjaye


Image credits:  Madeleine Albright by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, inkjet print, 2005 (printed 2016). National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; acquired through the generosity of Eugene Eidenberg © 2005, Timothy Greenfield-Sanders. David Ho by Gregory Heisler, chromogenic print on polyester base (ilfochrome), 1996. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Time magazine © Gregory Heisler. Bill T. Jones by Robert Mapplethorpe, gelatin silver print on paper, 1985. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Used by permission. Rita Moreno by ADÁL, gelatin silver print, 1984. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution ©1984 Adál. Spike Lee by Jesse Frohman, inkjet print on paper, 1999 (printed 2014). National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of the artist © 1999, Jesse Frohman; Esperanza Spalding photograph by Carmen Daneshmandi.