Bunch, III receives Ambassador of the Arts award

Lonnie Bunch, III will receive the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History's 2018 Ambassador of the Arts Award. (photo courtesy The Future of the African American Past Conference)

Washington Performing Arts has selected Lonnie Bunch, III – a longtime Shepherd Park resident and founding director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture – to receive its 2018 Ambassador of the Arts Award.

The award recognizes extraordinary achievement, service and advocacy in the performing arts. Bunch was chosen for “his success in showcasing the transformative power of the performing arts and the role that African Americans played in shaping culture in America and around the world.”

As the director of the museum since 2005, Bunch led a $540 million fundraising campaign and oversaw the development of the museum’s exhibitions, public programs and publications. He is also published on topics including the black military experience, the American presidency, all-black towns in the American West, diversity in museum management, and the impact of funding and politics on American museums.

Bunch will receive the award in a private ceremony at the National Building Museum at 6 p.m. on March 10. Past award recipients include Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and opera singer Denyce Graves, a native Washingtonian and Duke Ellington School of the Arts graduate.