The Martha Richards Visionary Woman in Leadership Award

Submissions for the 2019 award are now closed.

Martha Richards receives the inaugural Visionary Woman in Leadership Award at Statera’s 3rd National Conference in Milwaukee, WI. (Photo by Malloree Delayne Hill)

Martha Richards receives the inaugural Visionary Woman in Leadership Award at Statera’s 3rd National Conference in Milwaukee, WI. (Photo by Malloree Delayne Hill)


This award, established in Martha Richards’ name, is given annually to a visionary woman* who uplifts, amplifies, and advances women in the arts. StateraArts established this award to recognize outstanding leaders and support the work of women who are creating pathways for others.

StateraArts is honored to highlight the extraordinary achievements of women leaders in the arts who provide powerful role models for mentorship and intersectional equity. The award comes with international recognition and a $2,000 prize. Read more about how the award was established:

Statera Establishes the Martha Richards Visionary Woman in Leadership Award


Martha Richards spent a 40-year career centering on the voices of women and under-represented artists. When this award was established, Martha had invested twenty-three years as Executive Director of WomenArts, a non-profit Martha founded dedicated to increasing visibility and opportunities for women artists in all genres. Prior to WomanArts, Martha served as Executive Director of Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College and as Managing Director of StageWest. She has received many honors including a 2006 nomination for the prestigious international Montblanc Due La Culture Award for outstanding service to the arts, induction into the BayPath College 21st Century Women Business Leaders Hall of Fame for her work in philanthropy, and recognition as one of three "founding mothers" of the Women's Fund of Western Massachusetts. One of Martha’s greatest and most wide-reaching accomplishments was the creation of SWAN / Support Women Artists Now Day, an international holiday celebrating the power and diversity of women’s creativity. Over its 11-year history, SWAN Day has reached 36 countries with over 1900 events. Martha Richards has changed the landscape for women artists and this award is part of her continued legacy.


Future recipients of the MRVWL Award:

  • Uplift, amplify, and advance women leaders in the arts

  • Actively create pathways to success and advancement for women in the arts

  • Embody Statera’s mission of positive action for women in the arts

  • Uphold the values of intersectional gender equity in their own leadership

Submission & Announcement TIMELINE:

April 1-30, 2019 - Nominations/Submissions accepted

May 1 - June 31, 2019 - Review Period

July 2019 - Notify recipient and invite them to Statera’s National Conference

October 2019 - Recipient is presented with Award at Statera’s National Conference


Women: Statera recognizes the limiting nature of the binary use of woman. We serve and welcome anyone on the gender spectrum who identifies either always or some of the time as a woman. We also serve and welcome those who identify as nonbinary. 

Intersectionality: StateraArts works through an intersectional lens for gender parity. We understand and acknowledge that systems of oppression and discrimination are interdependent and span all social categorizations such as race, class, gender, ability, religion, parental status, size, age, and sexual orientation as they apply to a given individual or group. Addressing one spoke of systematic discrimination or disadvantage means holistically addressing them all.