24th Pell Awards Gala slated for June 5, 2023 

PROVIDENCE, RI:  Trinity Repertory Company announces the four Rhode Island residents who will be honored at its 24th Pell Awards Gala on Monday, June 5, 2023 at WaterFire Arts Center. Artist and creator of WaterFire Barnaby Evans of Providence and Rhode Island Latino Arts founder Marta V. Martínez of Warwick will each receive a Rhode Island Pell Award for Excellence in the Arts. Former Trinity Rep board chair Suzanne Magaziner of Bristol will be awarded the Charles Sullivan Award for Distinguished Service in the Arts. The Pell Award for Outstanding Leadership in the Arts will go to Cranston resident Trudy Coxe, executive director of the Preservation Society of Newport County. The national recipients of the Pell Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts will be announced in the coming weeks.  

The 2023 Pell Awards Gala will be the first to be held since 2019. All four local honorees were originally slated for recognition at the Pell Awards Gala in June 2020, which was cancelled due to the pandemic. Trinity Rep’s 2023 Pell Awards Gala will be held in Providence, Rhode Island at WaterFire Arts Center, located at 475 Valley St. in a renovated historic, industrial building in the Olneyville/Valley neighborhood of Providence. The event is co-chaired by Kibbe and Tom Reilly and Richard and Sharon Jenkins

The Pell Awards Gala will begin at 6:00 pm with a VIP cocktail reception. All guests will enjoy a seated dinner at 7:00 pm, followed by the awards ceremony at 8:00 pm. Attendees will enjoy mixing and mingling with artists, business, political, and social leaders; catering by Russell Morin Fine Catering; and unforgettable moments as the theater honors individuals who are committed to bettering the world through art, education, and activism. 

Tickets and sponsorships go on sale January 10 at www.trinityrep.com/pell or by phone at (401) 453-9235. Individual gala tickets are $300; VIP tickets are $600. All proceeds from the Pell Awards Gala support Trinity Rep’s artistic, education, and community engagement programs. Event program tribute ads are also available. 

“For over two decades, Trinity Rep has honored Senator Claiborne Pell’s visionary dedication to the arts and humanities by recognizing remarkable arts leaders and practitioners in Rhode Island,” Artistic Director Curt Columbus said. “Suzanne, Marta, Barnaby, and Trudy have made an indelible impact on the lives of people in our state, demonstrating the significance that a life spent dedicated to creativity, community, and philanthropy can make. We are thrilled to celebrate their individual achievements, their commitment to bettering the world through art, and their years of service to our region.” 


Trinity Rep’s Pell Awards were established in 1997 to honor the legacy of Senator Claiborne Pell (D-RI) and recognize artistic excellence in Rhode Island and the New England region as well as on the national level. Between 1961 and 1997, Senator Pell held influential Senate posts in the fields of human resources, education, arms control, health, human rights, foreign relations, the environment, and the arts and humanities. Throughout his life, Senator Pell worked to support the arts and provide new opportunities for artists. He was the principal sponsor of landmark legislation that established the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities in 1965, and chaired the Senate Education and Arts subcommittee. He also took a lead role in eliminating barriers to higher education with his legislation creating the Basic Educational Opportunity Grants, which Congress named “Pell Grants” in 1980. 

Previous recipients of the Rhode Island Pell Award for Excellence in the Arts include 2019’s Valerie Tutson, as well as John Benson, Howard BenTré, Dan Butterworth, Len Cabral, Charlene Carpenzano, John Chan, Bob Colonna, Robert Coover, Umberto “Bert” Crenca, Richard Cumming, Ruth Frisch Dealy, Tony Estrella, Richard Fleischner, Peter Geisser, Malcolm Grear, Michael Harper, Bunny Harvey, Dorothy Jungels & the Everett Dance Theatre, George Kent, Eugene Lee, David Macaulay, Salvatore Mancini, Dave McKenna, Barbara Meek, Denny Moers, Morris Nathanson, Timothy Philbrick, Ricardo Pitts-Wiley, Duke Robillard, Thomas Sgouros, Sr., Consuelo Sherba, Gretchen Dow Simpson, Maria Spacagna, Judith Lynn Stillman, Chris Van Allsburg, Paula Vogel, Keith and Rosmarie Waldrop, William Warner, Rose Weaver, Steven Weinberg, and Toots Zynsky. 

Past recipients of the Pell Award/Charles Sullivan Award for Distinguished Service in/to the Arts include 2019’s Deloris Grant, as well as Elizabeth Z. Chace, Mayor Vincent A. Cianci, Jr., Martha Douglas-Osmundson, Sally and Joe Dowling, Adrian Hall, Mary Paula Hunter, P. William Hutchinson, Virginia Lynch, Lowry Marshall, Jane S. Nelson, Elaine Foster Perry, and Julie Adams Strandberg. 

Past Pell Award for Outstanding Leadership in the Arts honorees include 2019’s Rosanne Somerson, as well as Jeannine Chartier, Joseph A. Chazan M.D., Mihailo “Misha” Djuric, Michael Gennaro, Roger Mandle, Senator Claiborne Pell, J.L. “Lynn” Singleton, and George Wein. 

2023 Rhode Island Pell Award for Excellence in the Arts 

Barnaby Evans 

Barnaby Evans is an artist, designer, community activist, thought leader, and consultant who uses his experience in many fields and media to create new visions for society, art, public spaces, environmental resilience, and urban interchange. Originally trained as a scientist focusing on the environment and ecology, Evans creates original artworks and designs solutions involving major urban interventions, site-specific installations, photography, and design. Evans aims to create new community experiences achieved with aesthetics, environmental engagement, music, metaphor, spatial and depth psychology, and minimalist design. 

Evans received his ScB in biology and environmental science from Brown University, and has been awarded honorary doctorates from Brown University, Rhode Island College, Roger Williams University, Providence College, the University of Rhode Island, and the Kevin Lynch Award from MIT. 

In 1994, Evans created WaterFire to rebrand and re-establish Providence as a destination city and a place of innovation and change. WaterFire is a city-scale intervention intended to inspire its residents. WaterFire combines a design approach with the symbolism of rebirth through light and fire. WaterFire is theatre without text, using all our senses, referencing ritual and land art, structural installations mixed with improvisation, music, and spectacle. WaterFire has been called “the crown jewel of the Providence Renaissance,” been written about in over one hundred urban studies books and publications, appears in numerous novels, poems, films and academic papers; and included in symposia all over the world. Evans helped lead the creation and design of the WaterFire Arts Center, a dramatic, award-winning transformation of a 1929 mill building into a contemporary art space that opened in 2017. Evans co-founded the Providence Resiliency Partnership and has developed innovative climate resiliency solutions to assure Providence’s future. 

Evans received Providence’s Renaissance Award and the Distinguished Service to the Arts Award from the National Governors Association. Evans and WaterFire were honored in 2011 with the first RI Arts and Tourism Award, from Tiffany & Co., and the RI Council on the Humanities’ 2011 Tom Roberts Prize for Creative Achievement in the Humanities. In 2012, WaterFire was recognized with the award of a $454,000 grant from ArtPlace, a consortium of foundations focused on creating urban vibrancy. 

Evans’ photography has been nationally and internationally exhibited and published and is included in the permanent collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; the Bibliotheque National, Paris; the Musee’ d’art et d’histoire, Fribourg, Switzerland; the Kunstpalast, in Dusseldorf, the Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, Massachusetts; and the Museum of Art, RISD, among others. 

Click here to download Mr. Evans’ headshot. Photo courtesy of Barnaby Evans 

2023 Rhode Island Pell Award for Excellence in the Arts 

Marta V. Martinez 

Marta V. Martínez founded and is executive director of Rhode Island Latino Arts (RILA). She is director and founder of Nuestras Raíces: The Latino Oral History Project of Rhode Island. Marta has written and published a book titled Latino History of Rhode Island: Nuestras Raíces based on her work with the Latino history project and is currently writing a children’s book on the same topic.  

She was coordinator and developer of Coming to Rhode Island – Fefa’s Market, an exhibition based on the oral history project of Dominicans in Rhode Island at The Providence Children’s Museum in Providence, RI. She was also coordinator/co-curator of an exhibition titled “Latino History of Rhode Island” at the community gallery of The Rhode Island Foundation.  

Marta was awarded a two-year (2022-2023) Fellowship by the Oral History Association and National Endowment for the Humanities for her work documenting oral histories and will be establishing an Emerging Latinx Oral Historians Fellowship Program in Rhode Island.  

Her work with Trinity Rep has led to the creation of Teatro del Pueblo, a bilingual theater program at RILA, which will strengthen and expand the Teatro en El Verano initiative established by the two organizations. 

Marta was born in Mexico and currently lives in Warwick, RI (Pawtuxet Village). She is fluent in Spanish and is of Mexican heritage. She is also fluent in Sign Language.  

Marta received her PhD from Providence College in 2019. 

Click here to download Ms. Martinez’s headshot. Photo courtesy of Marta V. Martinez. 

2023 Charles Sullivan Award for Distinguished Service in the Arts 

Suzanne Magaziner 

Suzanne Magaziner began her career as a business strategy consultant with the Boston Consulting Group, and later, she started an international consulting firm with her husband, Ira. She has been involved with Trinity Rep for more than twenty years, beginning in the early nineties when she served on the Board of Trustees for two years before moving with her family to Washington, DC to serve in the Clinton Administration.   

Upon moving back to Rhode Island, she returned to Trinity Rep’s Board and has served there in a number of positions, including six years as chair of the Board, and now as Trustee Emerita.  During her tenure as chair, she was instrumental in working with senior staff to eliminate a stubborn annual seven-figure structural deficit, and bringing sustainable financial health to Trinity Rep. Before that, she served as chair of the theater’s last capital campaign, Theater for Every Generation, which successfully raised $18 million in bridge financing during the years of the Great Recession. Together with her husband, she chaired the 2009 Pell Awards, and co-chaired the 2017 Project Discovery Gala. Throughout her chairmanship, she worked to strengthen the Brown/Trinity Rep MFA Program; to support the artistic company; to improve equity, diversity, and inclusion at all levels of the organization; and to make Trinity Rep a place where all people feel welcome and see themselves reflected in the stories it tells.  

In addition to Trinity Rep, Suzanne has a long history of actively serving on nonprofit boards, including more than a dozen years with Sophia Academy, a private middle-school for girls from low-income homes in Providence.  She also served as a founding board member of Nowell Leadership Academy, an alternative high-school for pregnant, parenting, and at-risk students, and on the boards of Roger Williams University, Save The Bay, Save Bristol Harbor, and several schools.  Her leadership, dedication and compassion have had a profound impact on countless organizations in our community.   

Suzanne was the recipient of the 2019 Woman of Wisdom Award from Sophia Academy, the 2018 YWCA Woman of Achievement Award, the 2015 Outstanding Philanthropic Award from the RI Chapter of Fundraising Professionals, the 2012 Providence Place Gives Award, and the 2012 Citizens Award from Save Bristol Harbor.  She is a graduate of Wellesley College, Brown University, Harvard Business School, and Harvard Law School.  She has been married to Ira for 42 years, and is the mother of Seth (Julia), Jonathan (Jen), and Sarah, and grandmother of Ronan, Kieran, Maeve, and Max. 

Click here to download Mrs. Magaziner’s headshot. Photo courtesy of Suzanne Magaziner. 

2023 Rhode Island Pell Award for Outstanding Leadership in the Arts 

Trudy Coxe 

Trudy Coxe is a nationally recognized historic preservation leader, museum executive, and activist. As CEO and executive director of The Preservation Society of Newport County, Coxe oversees a collection of 11 historic house museums, including seven National Historic Landmarks, spanning nearly 300 years of American architectural history. These include the Gilded Age icons The Breakers, Marble House, The Elms, and Rosecliff. 

With 200 full-time and seasonal employees, an annual operating budget of $26 million, 51,000 members, and 1 million annual admissions, the Preservation Society is a significant economic driver for Rhode Island; it is the most visited cultural attraction in the state of Rhode Island and among the top four most visited museums in New England. 

Immediately prior to joining the Preservation Society in December 1998, Coxe served more than six years as Massachusetts’ Secretary of Environmental Affairs for Governors Bill Weld and Paul Cellucci, where she presided over completion of the Boston Harbor cleanup and creation of the next generation of clean drinking water technology; protected more than 100,000 acres of land; and led the national fight for alternative-fueled vehicle.  Previously, she served as the director of ocean and coastal resource management in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Key accomplishments included the designation of two National Marine Sanctuaries – Monterey Bay and Flower Garden Banks in the Gulf of Mexico. She also served for 11 years as the executive director of Rhode Island’s Save The Bay, turning it into the largest environmental action organization in New England. The popular Save The Bay Swim was initiated by Coxe. 

Some of Coxe’s key accomplishments at The Preservation Society of Newport County include: 

  1. raising hundreds of millions of dollars for preservation of the Newport Mansions 
  1. launching an aggressive plan to ensure the long-term conservation of the houses 
  1. achieving re-accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums (fewer than 900 of the 35,000 museums in the U.S. are accredited) 
  1. establishing a Fellows program for emerging scholars 
  1. initiating a vibrant exhibition program, converting the second floor of Rosecliff into museum exhibition space 
  1. creating popular adult and children’s audio tours in five languages 
  1. organically growing the organization’s membership from 3,800 to 51,000 supporters  

Among her honors, Coxe holds an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Roger Williams University, an Honorary Doctor of Law degree from the University of Rhode Island, and an Honorary Doctor of Science degree from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy.  She has received the following awards  

  1. Woman of the Year by the Rhode Island Hospitality Association.  
  1. One of the 30 Most Powerful Women in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly
  1. The Business Woman Award for Overall Career Achievement from Providence Business News
  1. The Award of Excellence from the National Garden Clubs, Inc. for her lifetime of environmental advocacy 
  1. The Mary Brennan Tourism Award from the Rhode Island Hospitality Association 

Coxe serves on several boards, including Grow Smart RI, the Rhode Island Commodores, the Advisory Board of the Conservation Law Foundation/Rhode Island, and she is an Incorporator of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, BankNewport, and the Newport Health Care Corporation. 

Click here to download Ms. Coxe’s headshot. Photo courtesy of Trudy Coxe.