The National Portrait Gallery announces the winners of the 2022 Portrait of a Nation | Smithsonian Voices

This year’s winners are José Andrés, Clive Davis, Ava DuVernay, Marian Wright Edelman, Anthony S. Fauci, MD, Serena Williams and Venus Williams.
Photo by Zach Hilty/BFA.com

The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery has announced the 2022 Portrait of a Nation winners. Established in 2015, the Portrait of a Nation award recognizes extraordinary individuals who have made transformative contributions to the United States and its people in many areas of activity, ranging from arts and sciences to sports and humanitarian work. This year’s winners are José Andrés, Clive Davis, Ava DuVernay, Marian Wright Edelman, Anthony S. Fauci, MD, Serena Williams and Venus Williams. The prizes will be awarded at the Portrait of a Nation gala on Saturday, November 12. In keeping with tradition, each laureate’s portrait will be featured as part of the museum’s “Recent Acquisitions” exhibition from November 10 to October 22, 2023. Several of the portraits will be on display for the first time, including new commissions by some of the most talented contemporary artists.

The 2022 winners of the Portrait of a Nation Award are

  • Jose Andresinternationally renowned humanist, culinary innovator, New York Times bestselling author, educator and founder of World Central Kitchen
  • Clive DavisGrammy Award-winning music industry executive and member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
  • Ava DuVernayOscar nominee, Emmy, BAFTA, and Peabody Award-winning filmmaker and founder of ARRAY
  • Marianne Wright Edelmanchildren’s rights activist and founder and chair emeritus of the Children’s Defense Fund
  • Anthony S. Fauci, MARYLANDdirector of the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and head of the NIAID Laboratory of Immunoregulation, chief medical adviser to the president, and adviser on global issues related to AIDS and COVID-19
  • Serena Williams, tennis champion, winner of 23 Grand Slam titles and entrepreneur
  • Venus Williamstennis champion, winner of seven Grand Slam titles, entrepreneur and passionate advocate for equal pay, mental health and physical well-being

“The Portrait of a Nation Award is an expression of gratitude to the leaders of our country who have made a difference and continue to advocate for a better future,” said Kim Sajet, Director of the National Portrait Gallery. “These recipients are innovators in their respective disciplines and advocates for social causes who use their voices to care for and uplift others. The Portrait of a Nation Award reminds us that history is alive and that the choices people make people have an impact on the nation’s legacy. We invite everyone to participate in recognizing these extraordinary people when their portraits are displayed as part of the museum’s ‘Recent Acquisitions’ exhibit in November.”

After a year-long delay due to the global pandemic, the biennial Portrait of a Nation Gala (formerly American Portrait Gala) will welcome distinguished guests for a formal-wear event at the museum in Washington, D.C. Guests will be able to enjoy cocktails and a private party tour of the Portrait Gallery’s “Recent Acquisitions” exhibition featuring portraits of the winners, followed by a seated dinner, awards presentations and a special performance. Each winner will be presented with their prize by a person of their choice. Past recipients of the Portrait of a Nation award include Henry “Hank” Aaron, Cpl. Kyle Carpenter, Aretha Franklin, Carolina Herrera and Maya Lin in 2015; Madeleine K. Albright, David D. Ho, MD, Bill T. Jones, Spike Lee and Rita Moreno in 2017; and Frances Arnold, Jeffrey P. Bezos, Earth, Wind & Fire, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Indra Nooyi and Anna Wintour in 2019. Portraits of all past winners are included in the museum’s collection.

The Portrait of a Nation Award is an expression of gratitude to the leaders of our country who have made a difference and continue to advocate for a better future.

The National Presidents of the 2022 Portrait of a Nation Gala are Eduardo J. Ardiles and Joseph P. Ujobai, Lyndon J. Barrois and Janine Sherman Barrois, and Catherine and Michael Podell. Washington, DC, the chairs are Kristin and John Cecchi and Susanna and Jack Quinn. The founding presidents are Wayne and Catherine Reynolds. Members of the welcoming committee include Eduardo J. Ardiles and Joseph P. Ujobai, Robert and Arlene Kogod, Catherine and Michael Podell, and David M. Rubenstein.

The Portrait of a Nation gala supports the first national collection of visual biographies. Proceeds support the Portrait Gallery’s endowment for exhibitions, collections, commissions and educational programs. For more information, visit npg.si.edu/gala.

The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery tells the multifaceted history of the United States through the individuals who have shaped American culture. Spanning the visual arts, performing arts and new media, the Portrait Gallery portrays poets and presidents, visionaries and villains, actors and activists whose lives tell the story of the nation. Connect with the museum at npg.si.edu and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

Julia P. Cluff