Thirty-two of Brown's top graduating artists, actors, writers, composers and directors will be honored at the 14th annual Weston Awards ceremony tonight at Stuart Theatre.
Recipients of the William and Alethe Weston Fine Arts Awards are selected by faculty in the areas of Visual Arts, Theater Arts, Dance, Music and Creative Writing, said Eli Halpern '09, one of the recipients.
Over $250,000 in cash prizes have been given over the last 14 years through the Weston Awards, said Associate Director of Major Gifts Richard Marshall '71 P'10.
Recipients of this year's awards were notified of the honors shortly after spring break, said William Litton '09, another recipient.
Each received a cash prize of $500, he said — which came as a surprise, since the award's Web site advertises a $400 prize.
"Receiving this award is a big honor because I really respect the people who read the manuscripts," Litton said.
He won in the fiction category for his three short stories, "Phantom Vibrations," "Piccadilly Romance" and "Drunken Hearted Man."
Halpern, who won the award for the best work in the poetry category with "THEY INHERE," said the award gave him a sense of encouragement as a creative writer leaving the ivory towers.
The winning entries from both Halpern and Litton came from their honors theses in Literary Arts.
"People always make fun of me for being a Literary Arts concentrator," Halpern said. "This kind of award is meaningful because it's really one of the undergraduate's first legitimization as a writer."
The budding poet, who also won $4,000 for the Preston Gurney Prize in Literary Criticism of Poetry, plans on using his award money to support himself while writing and traveling in Europe.
"I want to get more writing done, which is what the money should be doing for the recipient — to allow the recipient to write without worrying about the daily grind."
The Weston Fine Arts Awards are endowed by a donation from William '43 and Alethe '41 Weston who were active participants in the performing and visual arts departments at Brown.
"Upon their passing in the early 1990s, the Westons left their entire estate in a trust fund to establish the Weston Awards. The trust is a private entity managed externally by its own trustees and is not part of Brown's endowment. Nor is the University involved in the management of the holdings," Marshall said.