Three persons were presented the prestigious “Avalon Award for Creative Excellence” Monday at Lipscomb University.
The recipients: children’s book author Patricia C. McKissack, St. Louis; internationally renowned portraitist Michael Shane Neal, Franklin; and architect Seab A. Tuck, Nashville.
The three were honored as examples of excellence “worthy of emulation in our students and ourselves,” university President Stephen F. Flatt said.
“We honor them because the product of their creativity is making a difference in our community and in our society,” Flatt said.
The Avalon Awards were created in 1995 to encourage the exploration of creativity among Lipscomb students and faculty by illustrating excellence in the creative arts. The awards “celebrate the creative spirit, but also look for relevance to our daily lives,” said Carolyn Wilson, director of library services at Lipscomb and an Avalon Steering Committee member.
Award recipients "have enriched our existence, challenged our minds, compelled our eyes and ears to see new visions and hear wondrous sounds. They have pursued that truer art, the language of the human spirit, which reveals the meanings of our broader worlds," Wilson said.
While most noted for her children’s books, McKissack has written more than 90 biographies, histories, and other stories, often in collaboration with her husband, Fredrick, inspired by African-American tradition and culture. Her most recent book, “Goin’ Someplace Special,” recently earned the Coretta Scott King Award for “Best Illustrated Book.”
“Goin’ Someplace Special” is McKissack’s own story, told through the character, ’Tricia Ann. Her “someplace special” was Carnegie Library, the only public institution that was desegregated in the mid-1950s in Nashville. Her mother worked for a period of time for Lipscomb.
Shane Neal, a 1991 Lipscomb graduate and protégé of Presidential portraitist Everett Raymond Kinstler, received the Grand Prize award at the 2001 Portrait Society of America’s International Portrait Competition for his portrait of Dr. John Flanagan of Nashville. Neal has a studio in Hillsboro Village.
Seab Tuck is a principal in Tuck-Hinton Architects Inc. of Nashville, whose most recent work has included the critically acclaimed Frist Center for the Visual Arts and the Country Music Hall of Fame. Tuck has been associated with Lipscomb University since 1988, when his firm was contracted to develop a campus master plan.
Buildings designed on campus by Tuck include the recently opened Allen Arena, Beaman Library, Allen Bell Tower, Student Activities Center, and several renovations and additions.