2020 Award Recipients

The National Guild was proud to honor these leaders at the 2020 National Guild Annual Meeting. We are grateful for the significant contributions they continue to make to the field of arts education.

2020 National Service Award: Carol Ross

The 2020 National Service Award recognizes Carol Ross for her steadfast leadership, commitment, and generosity in service of community arts education.

Carol taught Latin in secondary schools in the Boston and New Haven areas for over 35 years. A member of the American Classical League and the American Numismatic Society, she has been named in ‘Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers'. In addition to teaching, she is a fellow of Hopper College at Yale University and has served on numerous civic non-profit boards. 

She is chairman of the Advisory Council of Women's Health Research at Yale, past President and a Board member of the Neighborhood Music School, the Center for Independent Study, and the Garden Club of New Haven. Additionally, she serves as a member of the President’s Advisory Council at Wheaton College (MA) and is immediate past chair and a member of the advisory Board and the grants committee of the Women & Girls Fund at the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven. She participated on the Board of the New Haven Historical Society & Museum from 1997-2003, Rockywold-Deephaven Camps, Holderness, NH, from 1991-2001, the New Haven Symphony Orchestra from 2008-2011, and the Greater New Haven Arts Stabilization Program.  

She led the Capital Campaign for Neighborhood Music School and has been involved in major fund-raising efforts for Planned Parenthood of CT, the New Haven Colony Historical Society, the New Haven Free Public Library, The Mary Wade Home, and Common Ground School. Besides being an enthusiastic audience-member, her musical interests include piano and recorder. In 2012, she was honored to receive the New Haven Arts Council’s C. Newton Schenck III Lifetime Achievement Award for support of the arts and in 2015 she was inducted into Gateway Community College’s Hall of Fame, recognizing her community leadership. 

Carol's distinguished service as a Guild Trustee lasted 15 years, and included two stints as Board Chair. In 2020, she was appointed as a Guild Trustee Emerita.

2020 National Leadership Award: Rhiannon Giddens

The 2020 National Leadership Award recognizes Rhiannon Giddens for her visionary work to reclaim American music's black roots and disrupt injustice through music.

Rhiannon is a celebrated artist who excavates the past to reveal truths about our present. A MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient, Giddens has been Grammy-nominated six times, and won once, for her work with the Carolina Chocolate Drops, a group she co-founded. She was nominated this year for her collaboration with multi-instrumentalist Francesco Turrisi, there is no Other (2019), an album that is at once a condemnation of “othering” and a celebration of the spread of ideas, connectivity, and shared experience. She has performed for the Obamas at the White House, acted in two seasons of the hit television series Nashville, and hosts the podcast Aria Code, produced by New York’s WQXR and the Metropolitan Opera. Giddens has been profiled by CBS Sunday Morning, the New York Times, and NPR’s Fresh Air, among other outlets. She is featured in Ken Burns’s Country Music series, which aired on PBS last fall, and has recently been named Artistic Director of the Yo-Yo Ma-founded Silkroad Ensemble. In 2019, Giddens also formed the band Our Native Daughters with three other black female banjo players and contributed to and produced their album Songs of Our Native Daughters (2019), which tells stories of historic black womanhood and survival. Pitchfork has said of her “few artists are so fearless and so ravenous in their exploration,” and Smithsonian Magazine calls her “an electrifying artist who brings alive the memories of forgotten predecessors, white and black.”