2000 First National Leeway Laurel Award

Philadelphia artist Linda Lee Alter established the Leeway Foundation in 1993 to promote female artists in the five-county Philadelphia area.

The Leeway Laurel is a new national grant established by the foundation to recognize an outstanding and inspirational American woman artist for her contributions to the arts and to her community. The award honors a woman of exceptional talent who inspires others, both as an artist and a person. Bernice Johnson Reagon is “perfect example of what we are aiming to find,” said foundation president Alter.

James Early, Director of Cultural Heritage Policy, Smithsonian Institution Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage spoke in appreciation:

We acknowledge and thank you Sister Bernice for reminding us of the ancestor’s call. In paying tribute to your creativity, your artistry, your contributions to the beauty we know and feel, we also honor and heed the many ancestors of your spirit: our lives, our families, our communities and the beauty and justice in the world we will make.
In love and respect, we salute you my Sister,