The Gish Prize Trust has named landscape architect Walter Hood winner of the 2019 Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize. The honor comes in recognition of Hood’s ongoing achievements in merging landscape, urbanism, and public art across the U.S.
Established in 1994 by the late actress Lillian Gish, the annual Prize awards $250,000 to a “highly accomplished artist from any discipline” in the U.S. each year “who has pushed the boundaries of an art form, contributed to social change, and paved the way for the next generation.”
Hood, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and the creative director and founder of Oakland-based Hood Design Studio, has had an eventful past few months. At the end of September, Hood received a MacArthur Foundation “Genius” grant. And, in August, the Oakland Museum of California commissioned his firm to lead the $20-million renovation of the institution’s outdoor space and gardens—originally designed by Dan Kiley 50 years ago—which is scheduled for completion in 2020.
Hood also received the Academy of Arts and Letters Architecture Award in 2017.
“When I look at the artists who have received the Gish Prize, it’s clear to me that this is not your typical award,” said Hood in a statement. It’s very much about people having a voice. So I am astonished, and deeply moved, that the Gish Prize jury has heard my voice. The work the Studio has done for the past twenty years is often soft-spoken and can go unnoticed. I thank the Gish Prize for helping to bring it into the public conversation.”
The honor will be conferred in a ceremony on November 20 at Lenfest Center for the Arts at Columbia University in New York.