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Yoko Ono receives the Edward MacDowell Medal for lifetime achievement

NEW YORK — One of the country’s leading artist residency programs, MacDowell, has awarded Yoko Ono a Lifetime Achievement Prize. The groundbreaking artist, filmmaker and musician will receive this year’s Edward MacDowell Medal, an honor previously bestowed on Stephen Sondheim and Toni Morrison, among others.

“There has never been anyone like her; There has never been work like hers,” MacDowell Chairman Nell Painter said in a statement on Sunday. “For some seventy years, she has rewarded eyes, provoked thought, inspired feminists and defended migrants with works of broad imagination. Her uniquely powerful oeuvre is permanently fresh and pertinent and speaks to our own time, where she so desperately needs her leitmotif: Peace.

Ono’s son, Sean Ono Lennon, said in a statement that the medal was “an incredible honor.”

“The history and list of past recipients are truly remarkable. It makes me very proud to see her art being appreciated and celebrated in this way,” he said.

Ono, 91, has made few public appearances in recent years and is not expected to attend the awards ceremony in July at the MacDowell campus in Peterborough, New Hampshire. Ono’s music manager, David Newgarden, will accept the award on her behalf.

Ono first rose to fame as part of the avant-garde Fluxus movement of the 1960s and then rose to international fame after meeting John Lennon, to whom she was married from 1969 until his death in 1980. Their many collaborations include the songs “Give Peace a Chance,” “Imagine” and “Happy Xmas (War Is Over),” the basis for “War Is Over! Inspired by the music of John & Yoko”, winner of this year’s Oscar for best animated short film.

Over the past 40 years, Ono has had a busy career as a visual artist and recording artist, with albums such as ‘Season of Glass’, ‘Starpeace’ and ‘Take Me to the Land of Hell’. She was recently the subject of a career retrospective at London’s Tate Modern.