History of the Marian Anderson Award

Celebrating critically acclaimed artists

Sidney Poitier, 2006 Marian Anderson Award Honoree (left), Glynn Turman (middle), and James Earl Jones, 2012 Marian Anderson Award Honoree (right)


Created in 1998, the Marian Anderson Award (MAA) honors the great Philadelphian and American contralto Marian Anderson by recognizing a critically acclaimed artist who has impacted society in a positive way, either through their own humanitarian work or their support for a humanitarian cause. The annual Award gala, held at the Kimmel Center, raised funds to support high-school-aged musicians in Philadelphia through the Young Artist Study Grants, which have contributed over $440,000 of financial support to over 200 motivated and talented students with financial challenges.  The Marian Anderson Award has brought positive recognition to the Philadelphia region nationally and internationally by giving the Award during the last two decades to an array of luminary artists, including Harry Belafonte, Gregory Peck, Elizabeth Taylor, Quincy Jones, Oprah Winfrey, Sidney Poitier, Maya Angelou, James Earl Jones, and Wynton Marsalis.