compiled by Cynthia Laird
Bestselling author Armistead Maupin has been named by Mayor Ed Lee as the recipient of the 2016 Mayor’s Art Award.
Maupin, a gay man, rose to fame with his nine-volume Tales of the City series, as well as the novels Maybe the Moon and The Night Listener .
“It is my great honor to recognize author Armistead Maupin with the 2016 Mayor’s Art Award,” Lee said in a news release. “His groundbreaking series Tales of the City helped introduce LGBTQ culture to the mainstream and contributed to San Francisco’s image as a compassionate city that celebrates diversity and where all are welcome. He is truly a San Francisco icon, and we are immensely grateful for his innumerable contributions to the city’s cultural history.”
Maupin, 71, was born in Washington, D.C. in 1944 and grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. A graduate of the University of North Carolina, he served as a naval officer in the Mediterranean and with the River Patrol Force in Vietnam. He worked for a newspaper in Charleston, South Carolina, before being assigned to the San Francisco bureau of the Associated Press in 1971. In 1976 he launched his groundbreaking Tales of the City serial in the San Francisco Chronicle .
Maupin lives in San Francisco with his husband, Christopher Turner. Over the years, Maupin has been involved with advocating for gay rights and has actively supported a number of organizations that work to advance the lives of LGBTQ youth and adults.
“Armistead Maupin is a hero to many in the LGBTQ community,” said Tom DeCaigny, a gay man who is director of cultural affairs for the city. “Throughout his life, he has given back to his adopted city and community whether it be championing gay rights through his art or supporting LGBTQ youth. He is most deserving of the Mayor’s Art Award.”
Maupin adds this award to other accolades including Lambda’s Pioneer Award (2012); Litquake Barbary Coast Award (2007); and an honorary Doctor of Letters from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
Maupin will receive the Mayor’s Art Award on Tuesday, March 29 at a fundraising reception hosted by ArtCare: Friends of the San Francisco Arts Commission.
This is the fifth Mayor’s Art Award to be bestowed on a San Francisco artist. Previous awardees are Ruth Asawa (visual art); Alonzo King (dance); Carlos Santana (music); and Rhodessa Jones (theater). Maupin is the first writer being honored.