October 22nd, 2012 | Culture

YCBA to receive West Prize

The Yale Center for British Art, located in the middle of campus, is trying to reach out to more undergraduates.
The Yale Center for British Art, located in the middle of campus, is trying to reach out to more undergraduates. Photo by David Suwondo.

The Yale Center for British Art was named this year’s recipient of the Benjamin West Prize, given by the American Associates of the Royal Academy Trust (AARAT), for its work furthering Anglo-American partnerships.

According to a Monday press release from the center, the award is given to the individual that has demonstrated “extraordinary commitment to Anglo-American friendship and generosity to the arts.” It is named after Benjamin West, a founding member of the Royal Academy who served as the institution’s second president.

The award will be accepted by YCBA Director Amy Meyers on Oct. 24 at AARAT’s annual gala in New York City.

“We always have enjoyed the happiest and most productive collaborations with museums and research institutions in the United Kingdom, and we have a special partnership with the Royal Academy that we will continue to promote with the greatest pleasure into the coming years,” Meyers said of the honor.

Before his involvement with the Academy, West was a painter who specialized in portraits and historical scenes. He received minimal formal education and is said to have learned painting from Native Americans, who taught him to mix clay with bear grease. West later founded what is now London’s National Gallery of Art.

The unique relationship between the center and AARAT began in 1964, when Paul Mellon — whose donations helped launch the center — let his extensive collection of British art be exhibited at the Royal Academy. Since then, the two institutions have maintained close ties, collaborating on a range of joint exhibitions.

The YCBA opened its doors in 1977 and boasts the largest, most comprehensive collection of British art found outside of the United Kingdom.