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The Fourth Annual Robert Giard Fellowship Benefit with Michael Cunningham

WEDNESDAY, MAY 21, 2014 6:30 PM – 9:00 PM At the home of Ethel Klein and Edward Krugman, 247 West 12th Street, NYC The Robert Giard Foundation cordially invites you to its 4th Annual Fellowship Benefit with special guest of honor, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Cunningham (The Hours). Proceeds from this event will support the annual Robert Giard Fellowship for emerging photographers and filmmakers working on themes of gender, sexuality, and the LGBT experience.   $150 per ticket; Benefit Sponsor tickets: $250, $500 (pair). All tickets are tax deductible less $25.   TO RESERVE TICKETS BY MAIL: We encourage you to send your contribution by check, payable to New York Foundation for the Arts, and mail your payment to:   The Robert Giard Foundation c/o Barry Klingman 555 Fifth Avenue, 11th floor New York, NY 10017   TO RESERVE TICKETS ONLINE: If you prefer to make your contribution online, click here for an online donation through NYFA. We will respond to confirm your donation and the number of tickets requested. SILENT AUCTION:                         There will be a silent auction of Robert Giard's The Rialto Bridge, Venice, c.1987. The stamped and framed print will be available to those in attendance. Details : 14 x 14 inch image on 16 x 20 inch, Gelatin silver paper. Authenticated and stamped by the Estate of Robert Giard. Reserve price: $2250   The Robert Giard Foundation is fiscally sponsored by Artspire, a program of the New York Foundation for the Arts. Online contributions will be posted as “New York Foundation for the Arts.”      

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Michael Cunningham: April and May Portrait of the Month

Michael Cunningham, New York, NY, 1991 American writer Michael Cunningham was born in 1952 in Cincinnati, OH, and raised in Pasadena, CA. He studied English literature at Stanford University, graduating in 1975, and at the University of Iowa, where he received a Michener Fellowship and earned an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 1980. In the 1970s and 1980s, Cunningham published several short stories in the Atlantic Monthly, the Paris Review, and the New Yorker. His early novel, Golden States, was published in 1984. Cunningham's next book, A Home at the End of the World (1990), established his reputation and brought him critical praise. In this work, the author explored themes common to his later novels, including situations dealing with traditional and extended families, the impact of AIDS, and a look at gay culture within the larger context of contemporary society. Published in 1995, Flesh and Blood, about the lives and relationships of several generations of a Greek-American family, received the Whiting Writers' Award. Cunningham is best known for his 1999 novel, The Hours, which was nominated for the National Book Critics Award and won the Pulitzer Prize, the PEN/Faulkner Award, and the American Library Association's book award for gay and lesbian literature. The Hours focuses on the lives of three women from different time periods, whose narratives are compellingly intertwined. The title is a tribute to Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway and Woolf herself is a main character in Cunningham’s story. A film version of The Hours was released in 2002; it was directed by Stephen Daldry and starred Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore, and Meryl Streep. In 2002, Cunningham wrote his non-fiction work, Land’s End: A Walk in Provincetown, the writer’s portrait of the famed gay resort town. His novels Specimen Days and By Nightfall were published to critical acclaim in 2005 and 2010 respectively. Cunningham has received numerous awards throughout his career, including a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1993 and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in 1998. He has taught at the Fine Arts Works Center in Provincetown, MA, and in the creative writing MFA program at Brooklyn College. He is currently a senior lecturer of creative writing at Yale University. His new novel, The Snow Queen, comes out in May 2014.

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Images from Monday’s screening of “The New Black” at CUNY CLAGS

This past Monday night's free screening of "The New Black" by Yoruba Richen, the 2011-2012 Robert Giard Foundation Fellow, drew a large and enthusiastic crowd to the CUNY Graduate Center. Professor andré carrington of Drexell University, a board member of CUNY’s Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies (CLAGS), and Giard board president Carl Sylvestre were on hand to introduce the film and the director. Following the screening, Ms. Richen took questions from the audience and was joined onstage by Karess Taylor-Hughes, who features prominently in the film as one of the activists who worked to pass a referendum in favor of marriage equality in Maryland during the 2012 campaign. "The New Black" will be aired nationwide on PBS on June 14. www.newblackfilm.com Presenter andré carrington, activist and film subject Karess Taylor-Hughes, and Giard Fellow and filmmaker Yoruba Richen during the Q&A.  

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María Irene Fornés: March Portrait of the Month

María Irene Fornés and Her Mother, New York, NY, 1990   Dramatist María Irene Fornés was born in Havana, Cuba, in 1930 and immigrated with her family to the United States in 1945. She started her artistic career as a painter before turning to playwriting in the early 1960s. Fornés’s first play to be performed on stage was Tango Palace (originally produced as There! You Died! in 1963). Her best-known play, Fefu and Her Friends (1977), looks at a group of women,their relationships, and their efforts to find greater meaning in their lives. Over her extensive career, Fornés has written more than forty plays and received nine Obie Awards. The first was given for her two “Distinguished Plays” The Successful Life of 3 and Promenade (both 1965). In 1972, Fornés formed the New York Theatre Strategy with Ed Bullins, Rosalyn Drexler, Adrienne Kennedy, Rochelle Owens, Sam Shepard, and Megan Terry, to establish a space for playwrights to test their ideas while retaining control over their work. She also started what would become a continuing collaboration with INTAR, a Hispanic American theater in New York. Fornés has taught and led workshops with many aspiring playwrights. Her plays in the 1980s and 90s include Evelyn Brown (1980), The Danube (1981), Mud (1983), Sarita (1984), The Conduct of Life (1985), Abingdon Square (1987), and Enter the Night (1993). Fornés, who has had Alzheimer’s disease for more than a decade, completed her last play, Letters from Cuba, in 2000. It premiered at Signature Theatre Company as part of a season-long festival of her work.

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Special screening of “The New Black” by Giard Fellow Yoruba Richen On Monday, March 3

On Monday, March 3rd at 6:30 pm, at the CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue (between 34th and 35th Streets), in the Elebash Recital Hall, there will be a free screening of the 2011-2012 Robert Giard Foundation Fellowship winning project The New Black by Yoruba Richen. The New Black is a documentary that tells the story of how the African-American community is grappling with the gay rights issue in light of the recent marriage equality movement and the fight over LGBT civil rights. For a preview of this film visit http://www.newblackfilm.com/the-film. Many of you got to see an early version of this film at our 2012 Benefit and back then we knew something special was in the works. Now is your chance to see the finished film and celebrate Yoruba’s achievement. We are delighted that she will be joining us that evening to talk about the making of this film that was recently nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Best Documentary and a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Documentary. It is thanks to your support that in 2011, The Robert Giard Foundation was able to award Yoruba a $7,500 fellowship. You were thus an early funder and helped her secure additional support from the Ford Foundation, Jerome Foundation, The Sundance Documentary Fund, the 2012 Creative Promise Award at the Tribeca Film Festival, and finally, a Guggenheim Fellowship. This special screening is presented in cooperation with the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies (CLAGS) at the City University of New York Graduate Center. To RSVP send us an email at robertgiardfoundation@gmail.com.

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