Trinity Rep: Indigo Girls to receive 2019 Pell Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts

Indigo Girls (Amy Ray and Emily Saliers) | Photo provided by Trinity Rep.

Trinity Repertory Company announced recently that the Indigo Girls will be honored with the 2019 Pell Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts in recognition of their artistic achievements and advocacy at the theater’s 23rd annual Pell Awards Gala on Monday, June 3, 2019 at the WaterFire Arts Center in Providence. Tickets and more information can be found at

Amy Ray and Emily Saliers (better known collectively as Indigo Girls) met in elementary school in Atlanta, Georgia and began singing together professionally while in high school in 1980. They began recording in 1985 and toured and recorded independently until they were signed by Epic Records in 1988. In 1989 they were nominated for a Grammy for Best New Artist, and took home the Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Recording. Indigo Girls would go on to receive multiple Grammy nominations, sell 15+ million albums worldwide and record 15 studio releases along with many live releases and compilations.

It will be a busy summer in Rhode Island for Ray. Earlier this year, Newport Folk Festival announced that the Amy Ray Band would be performing at their festival in July at Fort Adams State Park.

Ray and Saliers are committed activists who have worked on issues such as immigration (working with such groups as El Refugio), supporting the Zapatistas in Mexico, working to abolish the death penalty, supporting sensible gun laws, LGBTQ rights, voter education, women’s health, Imagination Library, and Indigenous Environmental Justice. They met Winona LaDuke at an Earth Day concert in 1991 and subsequently formed Honor the Earth in 1993, in conjunction with several other Native run organizations. They continue to commit their time and resources to Honor the Earth, working as liaisons between Native and non-Native communities, and supporting the environmental justice work of Honor the Earth through concerts, recordings and outreach.

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Curt Columbus, The Arthur P. Solomon and Sally E. Lapides Artistic Director, said in a press release, “The Indigo Girls are extraordinary: two amazing musicians and two incredible citizens of the world. Amy and Emily combine the best of what we celebrate every year at the Pell Awards gala — lifelong artistic excellence and public service combined in the greatest artists living and working in America today. Senator Pell’s legacy is alive and well in these two women, and their singular body of work.”

The Indigo Girls join previously announced local honorees: storyteller Valerie Tutson of Rhode Island Black Storytellers who will receive the Rhode Island Pell Award for Excellence in the Arts; educator Deloris Davis Grant of Central Falls High School who will receive the Charles Sullivan Award for Distinguished Service in the Arts); and Rosanne Somerson, president of Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), who will receive the Pell Award for Outstanding Leadership in the Arts.

Trinity Rep’s 2019 Pell Awards Gala will be held the evening of Monday, June 3, 2019 at the WaterFire Arts Center in Providence. The annual fundraising event is co-chaired by Sally Lapides and Art Solomon and Alison and Larry Eichler. Honorary co-chairs Clay Pell, Nick and Annie Pell, Tripler Pell and Tawfik Hammoud, Christina Neal Pell, and Eames Yates, Jr.

The Pell Awards gala event committee includes: Charlene Carpenzano; Buff Chace; Johnnie Chace; Liz Chace; John Chan; Joseph Chazan and Vicki Veh; Ann Marie Clarkson; Joan Countryman; Jim DeRentis and Brett Smiley; Martha Douglas-Osmundson; Joe and Sally Dowling; Jon and Julie Duffy; Rebecca Gibel; Phil Gould and Athena Poppas; John and Yvette Harpootian; Laura Harris; Janet Hasson; Mayer and Judy Levitt; Joe Madden; Suzanne and Ira Magaziner; Ronald C. Markoff and Karen Triedman; Heidi Keller Moon; Paul and Jean Moran; Timothy Philbrick; Myrna and Hershey Rosen; Barbara and Larry Schoenfeld; Gretchen Dow Simpson and James Baird; Alec Stais and Elissa Burke; Judith Lynn Stillman; Mindy and Stanley Wachtenheim; and Toots Zynsky.

Honorary event committee members include: Kate Burton; Len Cabral; Jeannine Chartier; Congressman David Cicilline; Curt Columbus and Nate Watson; Michael Corrente; Ruth Dealy; P. William Hutchinson and Jeri McElroy; Richard and Sharon Jenkins; Congressman James Langevin; Brooke and Eugene Lee; Mary McDonnell; Tom Parrish; Bernadet V. and Ricardo Pitts-Wiley; Senator Jack Reed; Rose Weaver; George Wein; and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse.

The creative black-tie event will begin at 6:00 pm with a VIP cocktail reception, sponsored by The Providence Real Estate Guy. The seated gourmet dinner will begin at 7:15 pm, followed by the awards ceremony at 8:15 pm. Guests will enjoy mixing and mingling with artists, business, political, and social leaders; catering by Russell Morin Fine Catering; and unforgettable moments as the theater honors individuals who are committed to bettering the world through art, education and activism.

Sponsors of the 2019 Pell Awards gala include: Brown University; IGT; Jonathan and Maya Nelson; Stenhouse Consulting; The Providence Real Estate Guy; Alison and Larry Eichler; Gilbane; Hayes & Sherry; Hinckley Allen; Navigant Credit Union; Sayles Livingston Design; Residential Properties LTD; Barbara and Larry Schoenfeld; Textron; Liz Chace; CVS Health; John and Yvette Harpootian; Suzanne and Ira C. Magaziner; Grandchildren of Claiborne and Nuala Pell; and Starkweather & Shepley. Southwest Airlines is the official airline of Trinity Rep.

Tickets for Trinity Rep’s Pell Awards Gala are $500 (VIP) and $250 (dinner and ceremony only). Tables, sponsorships and event program ads are also available. All proceeds benefit Trinity Rep’s artistic programs. For more information or to purchase tickets, sponsorships or ads, visit or call (401) 453-9237