Established by the High Museum of Art in 2005, the David C. Driskell Prize is the first national award to honor and celebrate contributions to the field of African American art. Named after the renowned African American artist and art scholar, the prize recognizes a US-based scholar or artist in the beginning or middle of his or her career whose artistic practice or scholarly work makes an original and important contribution to the visual arts and study of African American art. A cash award of $25,000 accompanies the prize.
David C. Driskell Prize Dinner
Friday, April 30, 2021 at 7p.m.
High Museum of Art
2020 David C. Driskell Prize Winner
Jamal D. Cyrus is the 2020 recipient of the David C. Driskell Prize in recognition of his contributions to the field of African American art. Based in Houston, Texas, Cyrus works across media in a conceptual, research-driven practice that interrogates American history within the framework of black political movements, the influence of the African Diaspora, and social struggle. Encompassing object-based to performance art, Cyrus’ work is a form of self-education, aiming to rectify gaps in the understanding of cultural and national heritage.
Read more about Jamal D. Cyrus
Michael K. Anderson
Brooke Jackson Edmond
D. Jack Sawyer, Jr.
M. Alexis Scott
For more information and tickets, please email Rhonda Matheison or call 404-733-4403.
For media inquiries, please call Marci Davis at 404-733-4585.
David C. Driskell, Doorway (detail) from Doorway portfolio, 2008, purchase with David C. Driskell African American Art Acquisition Fund, 2009.42.1.
David C. Driskell
June 7, 1931–April 1, 2020
“David C. Driskell has meant so much to so many. He was an artist, scholar, mentor, devoted husband, a dear friend and life trustee of the High Museum of Art. For 16 years the David C. Driskell Prize has recognized artists and scholars who like him, have created a body of work that continues to define the field of African American art. He was a beacon for young artists, and he generously shared so much of himself with so many. His passing leaves a void in our community, but we will continue to honor his legacy through our own dedication to the art and scholarship he championed. We send our sincere condolences to his family and all the artists and students he touched during his lifetime.”
—Rand Suffolk, Nancy and Holcombe T. Green Jr., Director.
David C. Driskell was an artist and scholar whose work on the African Diaspora spanned nearly seven decades. The High Museum of Art’s relationship with Driskell began in 1977 when the Museum presented Driskell’s landmark exhibition, Two Centuries of Black American Art, the first traveling museum exhibition dedicated to works made exclusively by African American artists in the United States between 1750 and 1950. In 2000, the High Museum presented Driskell’s concurrent exhibitions To Conserve a Legacy: American Art from Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and Narratives of African American Art and Identity: The David C. Driskell Collection, both of which examined African American art within the broad historical context of modern and contemporary art in the United States.
Driskell was born in 1931 in Eatonton, Georgia, and kept roots here in the South even though he was based in Maryland, where he taught African American Art History at the University of Maryland, College Park. Driskell’s career as an artist and scholar, noted for its focus on the influence of the African diaspora, spanned nearly seven decades.