Yoko Ono Awarded Prestigious Edward MacDowell Medal for Lifetime Achievement

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In an event that has satisfyingly reverberated through the heart of the arts community, the MacDowell artist residency program – one of the most prestigious in the the United States – has celebrated the extraordinary and peerless career of Yoko Ono by conferring upon her its lifetime achievement award, the Edward MacDowell Medal. An honor roll that features the distinguished likes of the iconic Stephen Sondheim and the legendary Toni Morrison is now graced with the name of this versatile artist, filmmaker and musician.

“There’s only one Yoko Ono. Her work – ground-breaking and incomparable,” were the words of the MacDowell board chair, Nell Painter, shared on a calm Sunday. “For nearly seven decades, she has teased the eyes, challenged the mind, emboldened feminists, and taken up the cause of migrants through her incredibly eclectic body of work. The enduring freshness and acute relevance in her craftsmanship speak volumes about our times, which yearn, maybe more than ever, for her core message: Peace.”

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“The medal is an incredible honor,” said Sean Ono Lennon, Ono’s son, acknowledging the glittering history of past medal winners. “It’s a joy to see her art appreciated and celebrated in this most fitting manner,” he added, wearing his pride on his sleeve.

Surrounded by almost ten decades of life, Ono prefers to embrace solitude and leads a quiet, private life with very few public appearances. Hence, it is unlikely that she will attend the awards typically held in July at the lush MacDowell campus in Peterborough, New Hampshire. Her music manager, David Newgarden, will accept the award on her behalf, representing the illustrious artist.

Yoko Ono first etched her name in the annals of art during the avant-garde Fluxus movement of the 1960s. But it was her relationship with the musical legend John Lennon, who she was married to from 1969 until his premature death in 1980, that granted her international recognition. Their striking collaborations produced timeless songs such as “Give Peace a Chance”, “Imagine”, and “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)”, the last of which inspired this year’s Oscar-winning best animated short film, “War Is Over! Inspired by the Music of John & Yoko.”

Embodying restless creativity for an impressive forty years, Ono has pursued an active career as a visual and recording artist. She has an array of albums to her credit, including the evocative “Season of Glass”, the aspirational “Starpeace”, and the introspective “Take Me to the Land of Hell”. Her invincible spirit and boundless artistry has been recently celebrated again through a career retrospective at London’s Tate Modern.