Helgi Tomasson Awarded 2020 San Francisco Arts Medallion


Museum of Performance + Design Lauds SF Ballet's Artistic Director for Leadership in the Arts

SAN FRANCISCO, February 5, 2020—The Museum of Performance + Design has chosen San Francisco Ballet Artistic Director and Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson to receive the 2020 San Francisco Arts Medallion for his outstanding leadership in the arts. Tomasson will receive the award at a ceremony on April 23 at Saint Joseph's Arts Society in San Francisco. Proceeds from the event will benefit the preservation and educational programs at the Museum of Performance + Design.

Helgi Tomasson. Photo © Erik Tomasson
Helgi Tomasson. Photo © Erik Tomasson

The Medallion is awarded in recognition of leadership, action, and generosity that have benefited the cultural life of the San Francisco Bay Area. A native of Iceland, Tomasson is in his 35th season with San Francisco Ballet, having joined the Company in 1985. In announcing the award, the Museum announced that Tomasson is, "one of the most venerated classical dancers of his generation," and that, "Under his direction, SF Ballet has become a company widely recognized as one of the finest in the world." The announcement goes on to laud Tomasson for cultivating frequent collaborations and commissions with world-class choreographers, choreographing more than fifty works for the Company, and conceptualizing international ballet festivals, including the 1995 UNited We Dance festival, the 2008 New Works Festival, and the 2018 Unbound: A Festival of New Works.

"Helgi's artistry and love for dance have been a tremendous gift to the city," said Museum of Performance + Design Board President Pattie Lawton, who co-chairs the event with Ken Fulk, founder of Saint Joseph's Arts Society. "We are honored and thrilled to present Helgi with the 2020 Arts Medallion. We are also grateful to welcome Jim and Cecilia Herbert as our Honorary Co-Chairs for this year's event."

Current Vice Chair and Past Chair of San Francisco Ballet Board of Trustees, and longtime supporters of Helgi Tomasson, Jim Herbert and his wife Cecilia Herbert, are the Honorary Co-Chairs for this year's event. "Helgi Tomasson is a visionary leader whose artistic genius has transformed San Francisco Ballet into one of the world's most accomplished performing arts organizations," said Jim and Cecilia Herbert. "For 35 years, Helgi's inspired work has delighted audiences and elevated the entire arts community in the Bay Area. This well-deserved recognition expresses heartfelt appreciation for Helgi's many contributions."

Past Arts Medallion Honorees include Stanlee Gatti (2005), Gordon Getty (2006), Diane B. Wilsey (2007), Mr. & Mrs. George F. Jewett, Jr. (2008), Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr. (2009), Nancy Hellman Bechtle (2010), Delia F. Ehrlich (2011), Roselyne Chroman Swig (2012), John Goldman (2013), Frederica von Stade (2015), Robert Mailer Anderson & Nion McEvoy (2016), Carl & Yurie Pascarella (2017), Tony Taccone (2018), and Michael Tilson Thomas (2019).

For more Information see www.mpdsf.org.