October 17, 2007
The Cleveland Institute of Art will honor philanthropist, author and former curator Toby Devan Lewis with its highest award, the Medal for Excellence, on Friday, October 19th.
For Immediate Release: October 17, 2007
Cleveland: The Cleveland Institute of Art will honor philanthropist, author and former curator Toby Devan Lewis with its highest award, the Medal for Excellence, on Friday, October 19. The medal recognizes those who have made significant contributions to the arts through their own artistic pursuits or though their service and philanthropy.
“We are delighted to have this opportunity to thank Toby for her longstanding commitments to The Cleveland Institute of Art, to emerging artists around the world, and to contemporary art in general,” said David L. Deming, the Institute’s president and CEO. “Toby is a passionate collector and promoter of contemporary art. For more than two decades - first through her curatorial work and, more recently, through her foundation, The Toby Fund - she has sponsored countless emerging artists.” Deming successfully nominated Lewis for the 2007 Martha Joseph Special Citation for support of the arts, awarded by the Cleveland Arts Prize in June.
Lewis established a $10,000 fellowship to be awarded annually to a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) graduate of The Cleveland Institute of Art earlier this year. The award was one of 10 MFA fellowships Lewis established at top graduate art programs around the country, including Yale School of Art, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Rhode Island School of Design.
A member of the Institute’s Board of Directors since 1991, Lewis will receive the Medal for Excellence at the college’s annual Charles E. Burchfield ‘16 Society dinner. Named for one the school’s first internationally renowned graduates, the society recognizes the donors of $1,000 or more to the Institute’s Annual Fund.
Lewis is the former curator for the art collection of the Progressive Group of Insurance Companies, one of the world's most highly regarded corporate collections of contemporary art. For more than 20 years, she acquired artworks from emerging artists. When she retired in 2004, the collection included over 6,300 works displayed in Progressive offices nationwide. Lewis has co-authored a book to be released later this fall, ArtWorks: The Progressive Collection, that describes the collection’s formation and the philosophy that drove Progressive to surround its employees with thought-provoking artwork.
Lewis is an active member of the Board of Trustees of the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York City, which recognized a leadership gift she made earlier this year by naming a directorship in her honor. She also serves on the boards of ArtPace San Antonio; the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland; ideastream; and the Cleveland Film Society.
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The Cleveland Institute of Art is an independent college of art and design committed to leadership and vision in all forms of visual arts education. The Institute makes enduring contributions to education and extends its programs to the public through gallery exhibits, lectures, a continuing education program and The Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque, an art and independent film program.
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