Arts Club of Washington

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The Arts Club of Washington is a club to promote the Arts in Washington, D.C. Founded in May 1916, its first president was Henry Kirke Bush-Brown. It is located at the Cleveland Abbe House.

It awards The Marfield Prize, National Award for Arts Writing, which is given annually by Arts Club of Washington members and the Marfield Prize Committee.

The Marfield Prize, National Award for Arts Writing[edit]

The Marfield Prize, also known as the National Award for Arts Writing, is given annually by the Arts Club of Washington to nonfiction books about the arts written for a broad audience. Intended to help increase access to the arts, the Prize celebrates prose that is lucid, luminous, clear, and inspiring—writing that creates a strong connection with arts and artists.

The Prize of $10,000, the only one of its kind in the country, honors nonfiction books first published in the U.S., by a single author who is living at the time of the book’s nomination. First given in 2006, the prize’s endowment was established by long-time Arts Club member Jeannie S. Marfield in honor of Florence Berryman and Helen Wharton.[1]

The award is given to the author of a nonfiction book about any artistic discipline (visual, literary, performing, or media arts, as well as cross-disciplinary works. Works of art history and criticism, biographies and memoirs, and essays are all eligible. Anthologies, creative works of fiction or poetry, books for children, exhibition catalogs and self-published books are not eligible.[2]

History and past winners[edit]

Members of the club noticed that there was a lack of "good, accessible writing about the arts," according to former award administrator Sarah Browning. Club members decided to use a bequest by longtime member Jeannie S. Marfield to remedy the situation.[3]

In 2006, Scott Reynolds Nelson, won the Marfield Prize for Steel Drivin’ Man: John Henry, The Untold Story of an American Legend. In 2007, Jenny Uglow, won for Nature’s Engraver: A Life of Thomas Bewick. In 2008, Michael Sragow, won for Victor Fleming: An American Movie Master . In 2009, Linda Gordon, won for Dorothea Lange: A Life Beyond Limits. In 2010, R. Tripp Evans won for Grant Wood: A Life.[4] In 2011, the club named Yaël Tamar Lewin[5] the winner of the sixth annual Marfield Prize, the National Award for Arts Writing, for her biography, Night’s Dancer: The Life of Janet Collins (Wesleyan University Press, 2011).[6]

In 2012, Anne-Marie O’Connor won for The Lady in Gold: The Extraordinary Tale of Gustav Klimt’s Masterpiece, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer.


  1. ^ Thompson, Bob (27 April 2007). "Tale of Folk Hero Wins New Award For Arts Writing". Washington Post. Retrieved 7 February 2013. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Thompson, Bob (27 April 2007). "Tale of Folk Hero Wins New Award For Arts Writing". Washington Post. Retrieved 7 February 2013. 
  4. ^ Montgomery, David (May 20, 2011). "Arts Club of Washington’s quirky downtown haven of clubby culture survives the ages". The Washington Post. Retrieved 20 May 2013. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ Sienkiewicz, Henry. "2011 Marfield Prize". The Arts Club of Washington. The Arts Club of Washington. Retrieved 7 February 2013. 

External links[edit]