Trinity Repertory Company awarded Sally and Joe Dowling with the 2017 Charles Sullivan Award for Distinguished Service in the Arts at the annual Pell Awards held at the Waterfire Arts Center on Monday, May 22, 2017.
Sally and Joe’s long association with Trinity Repertory Company began in 1967. Fifty years later they still remain ardent fans. Joe and Sally each served as Board Chair during tumultuous times in the theater’s history. Joe became Chair as the last man standing when half of the Board members resigned in protest over Adrian Hall’s production of Son of Man and The Family. During his tenure, the Majestic Theater was transformed into Trinity’s permanent home. Joe continues to serve on Trinity’s Board and is an enthusiastic and successful fundraiser. Sally served as Board Chair when the theater was in danger of closing following the controversial tenure of Artistic Director Anne Bogart. With the help of Richard Jenkins as Artistic Director and a grant from the City of Providence requiring a $1.2 million match, the crisis was averted.
The Pell Awards honor Senator Claiborne Pell and recognize artistic excellence in Rhode Island and the New England region as well as on the national level. Throughout his life, Senator Pell worked to support the arts and provide new opportunities for artists.
Other Pell Award recipients included Jessica Lange, honored with the 2017 Pell Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts, Ricardo Pitts-Wiley who received the Pell Award for Excellence in the Arts and the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA), recipients of the Pell Award for Outstanding Leadership in the Arts.