Trinity Rep established the Pell Awards in 1997 to honor artists whose artistic careers exemplify the values of Senator Claiborne Pell, one of the principal founders of the National Endowment for the Arts. This year's recipient of the Pell Award for Lifetime Achievement is Academy Award-winning actress Olympia Dukakis.
The Pell Awards’ criteria include excellence in the artist’s chosen field, work that significantly advances the art form, and contribution to the betterment of the community and the world at large through artistic presence and community service. Previous Lifetime Achievement honorees include Jason Robards, Arthur Miller, Beverly Sills, Stephen Sondheim, Toni Morrison, Robert Redford, Maurice Sendak, Jane Alexander, Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis and Chita Rivera. Proceeds from ticket sales benefit artistic programming at Trinity Rep and fund grants to the Pell Award winners.