In a ceremony held at Bennington College, Holly Block '80 was awarded the inaugural Dr. Elizabeth Coleman Visionary Leadership Award. This newly established annual award recognizes a distinguished Bennington alumna/us, faculty or staff member, or an individual from the larger Bennington community whose innovative and inspirational leadership has advanced civic and cultural life and improved the lives of others. Block is the executive director of The Bronx Museum of the Arts and recently served as the co-commissioner of the United States Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale. Under her leadership the museum has not only earned international acclaim but become an engine for community revitalization.
Block's emphasis on community outreach, education, and international connections has been a theme throughout her career. Before joining the Bronx Museum, she served as executive director of Art in General, a leading arts organization in lower Manhattan dedicated to commissioning and presenting contemporary art. During her eighteen years at Art in General, Block exhibited and presented the work of more than 4,000 artists, and established herself as a dynamic force in the contemporary art world.
Established by the parents of a Bennington alumna from the Class of 2000 in honor of Bennington's ninth president, the $5,000 award has no restrictions on how it may be used. Candidates are nominated by members of the Bennington College community and selected by a committee of faculty and staff.