National Portrait Gallery adds celebrity presenters to American Portrait Gala

Former First Lady Michelle Obama attends An Intimate Conversation about her book ‘Becoming: with Michelle Obama’, featuring moderator Gayle King at State Farm Arena on May 11, 2019, in Atlanta. (Photo by Paul R. Giunta/Invision/AP)

The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery has announced the lineup of presenters for its upcoming American Portrait Gala on Sunday, Nov. 17.

The biennial event, which raises funds for the museum’s exhibitions endowment, brings together some of the nation’s most prominent and respected voices.

This year, the museum is awarding its Portrait of a Nation Prize to Frances Arnold, Jeff Bezos, Earth, Wind & Fire (Maurice White posthumously, Philip Bailey, Verdine White and Ralph Johnson), Lin-Manuel Miranda, Indra Nooyi and Anna Wintour.

Award-winning journalist Gayle King will serve as the gala’s master of ceremonies.

The full lineup of presenters and awardees for the third biennial gala are:

  • Michelle Obama, former first lady, will present to Lin-Manuel Miranda, award-winning composer, lyricist, actor and creator of the Tony Award-winning musicals “In The Heights” and “Hamilton.”

  • Preston Bezos, son, will present to Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon and Blue Origin, owner of The Washington Post, tech entrepreneur and philanthropist.

  • James Corden, actor, comedian and television host of “The Late Late Show,” will present to Anna Wintour, artistic director of Condé Nast and editor-in-chief of Vogue.

  • France Córdova, astrophysicist and director of the National Science Foundation, will present to Frances Arnold, scientist, engineer and Nobel Laureate.

  • Clive Davis, Grammy-winning music industry executive and member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, will present to Earth, Wind & Fire, award-winning band.

  • Alberto Ibargüen, president and CEO of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, will present to Indra Nooyi, business executive named by Forbes as one of world’s 100 most powerful women.

The Portrait of a Nation Prize celebrates and honors exemplary achievements in the worlds of science, performing arts, business, fashion and media.

“The Portrait Gallery is focused on bringing together people of different backgrounds and disciplines who have impacted American history and culture,” National Portrait Gallery director Kim Sajet said. “We look forward to this stellar lineup of presenters sharing their thoughts and memories of each honoree. We are also delighted to bring new elements to this year’s gala including an honorary fashion designer.”

The evening will feature Prabal Gurung as Honorary Fashion Designer and a special performance by honorees Earth, Wind & Fire.

The American Portrait Gala was established in 2015 as a fundraiser to strengthen the museum’s endowment for exhibitions and to focus attention on the museum’s work with living sitters and contemporary artists.

For a list of past recipients, visit the National Portrait Gallery website.

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