After spending years behind the scenes as an artistic and executive director of various arts organizations, Kristy Edmunds will take center stage March 25 in Chicago to receive the inaugural Berresford Prize from United States Artists. The prize, which will be given annually to a cultural practitioner for their work on behalf of artists, comes with an unrestricted award of $25,000.
The new prize is named for Susan V. Berresford, a co-founder and current trustee of United States Artists, an organization that attempts to show the value of artists to American society.
Edmunds is the executive and artistic director of UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance. Previously, she has served as the founding executive and artistic director of the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art and the inaugural consulting artistic director for the Park Avenue Armory in New York, among other positions.
“Art doesn’t just occur on its own — it’s made, shared, and recognized because spaces and conditions are created for it to happen,” Ann Hamilton, a United States Artists trustee, said in a statement. “Kristy is one of those condition makers whose visionary leadership and sensibility has helped so many artists make their work possible.
When asked about her approach to the projects she’s involved with, Edmunds emphasized that her focus is always on “listening to the integrity of the idea” an artist has. And then, she said, she tries to understand “how that idea is going to find form from where it’s starting.”
For an accomplished facilitator committed to receptive listening, stepping into the spotlight, even for a night, can be a slightly uncomfortable experience. Receiving this award, Edmunds said, is “profoundly humbling” but also “extremely strange and surprising.”
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.