A recap of a celebratory night
On Thursday, September 29, 2022, the BU College of Fine Arts community – students, alumni, friends, faculty, and staff – came together to celebrate and honor three inspiring alums, who we are proud to call this year’s CFA Distinguished Alumni Award recipients.
Flutist and composer Valerie Coleman (CFA’95, BUTI’89)
Actor and activist Michelle Hurd (CFA’88)
Visual artist and Guggenheim Fellow Alexi Worth (CFA’93)
It was an evening of laughs, smiles, and a refreshing reminder of alums who share our College’s commitment to excellence and making the arts a welcoming environment for all.
It is our distinct pleasure to present you with…
Valerie Coleman (CFA’95, BUTI’89)
“Valerie, you connect us with the present, even as we try to process it. In the midst of the pandemic you were commissioned by the Philadelphia Orchestra and wrote ‘Seven O’Clock Shout,’ an anthem to honor frontline workers. You called it a “declaration of our survival.” More recently you were commissioned a multi-part song cycle inspired by the Sonia Sanchez poem, ‘This is Not a Small Voice,’ a work about the innocence of Black children, and the need to protect it.
In a truly poetic and full-circle moment, you were recently commissioned by BUTI and wrote Ashé, a new work performed at this summer’s celebration of Ann Hobson Pilot. You returned to Lenox as an instructor in composition and to launch the new Woodwind Quintet Workshop.
Valerie, your work alone is an enormous source of inspiration. But, your commitment to widening the field to welcome new artists is a poignant reminder of the multi-faceted impact you continue to have.
Valerie Coleman, it is my distinct pleasure to present you with a Distinguished Alumna Award on behalf of the College of Fine Arts.“
-Gregory Melchor-Barz, Director of BU School of Music
Alexi Worth (CFA’93)
“Alexi Worth, along with being a graduate of the MFA Painting program at Boston University, you are a painter, writer, and Guggenheim and Tiffany-award winner known for ambitious, layered, paintings that ask the viewer to look again.
Your many solo and group exhibitions invite us to come closer to the subjects you paint and to the work as a physical object. As the DC Moore Gallery in New York notes, ‘Worth shows us a world between our fingers and our faces, a foreground world,’ and exhibition titles like ‘Nearness,’ ‘Changing Table,’ ‘States,’ and ‘Green Glass Door’ focus our awareness on the shiftiness of ordinary surfaces.
Alexi, you have subtly taken the ordinary, the casual, that which lulls us in our daily comings and goings, and given us pause and perspective, awakening us to a moment, to a feeling. Your work, individual and layered, invites us to explore relationship, what we know, what we think, what is.
Alexi Worth, it is my distinct pleasure to present you with the Distinguished Alumnus Award on behalf of the College of Fine Arts.“
-Dana Clancy, Director of BU School of Visual Arts
Michelle Hurd (CFA’88)
“From high-profile shows including ER and Gossip Girl, to stage work, you have pursued roles with that same drive and hunger. You were drawn to the strong, tough characters. You liked playing the boss, the cop. You joined Law & Order: Special Victims Unit as Detective Monique Jeffries, a role that audiences continue to associate you with.
But then a project came along that gave you space to explore. Raffi Musiker. She is flawed, broken, struggles with regret, addiction, and her past. This universe of Star Trek: Picard, this expanse of science fiction, continues a legacy that transcends differences while peeling back what makes us human.
Michelle, in the tradition of Star Trek, you continue to give voice and representation. Behind the scenes you’ve insisted that Raffi have curly, natural hair because it’s important for young people to see themselves on screen.
Even as your visibility has increased on television, you are acutely aware of those in the audience who feel invisible. You also know the work that needs to be done behind the camera. Your commitment is evident each and every day. In your role as SAG-AFTRA’s National Vice President of Los Angeles and Chair of the SAG-AFTRA National Sexual Harassment Prevention Committee you have championed diversity and equity efforts across the industry.
Michelle Hurd, it is my distinct pleasure to present you with a Distinguished Alumna Award on behalf of the College of Fine Arts.”
-Susan Mickey, Director of BU School of Theatre
CFA Distinguished Alumni Awards
The Distinguished Alumni Awards are the most prestigious awards conferred by the College of Fine Arts at Boston University. Since 1986, awards have been presented to individuals who have distinguished themselves with outstanding achievements in their careers, communities, and in service to the arts.
Find out who are past award winners are.