Announcing the CSA Howard Vincent Kurtz Emerging Theatre Artist Award

July 16, 2021

Article provided by Costume Society of America and written by Mary Gibson and Trish Cunningham; Endowment Solicitation Managers

We are excited to announce the creation of a new award funded by the CSA Endowment. The CSA Howard Vincent Kurtz Emerging Theatre Artist Award recognizes student members and seeks to foster their development. It is given annually and provides financial assistance to a student who has been selected to present a brief overview of their research/creative work at the CSA National Symposium. The student receives up to a $500 travel stipend, a day-of-presentation registration fee, and a two-year student membership in CSA. Funded through the CSA Endowment, the award is intended to encourage student participation in the symposium and in other CSA programs. Visit the CSA website to see details and application information. The application deadline is December 15, 2021. 

The award was established in 2021 and is named for its contributor, USITT member Howard Vincent Kurtz, who has had a diverse career as a costume designer, educator of theatre costume design, and a costume curator. He is a professional costume designer who is a member of the United Scenic Artist Local 829. Howard was a patternmaker and draper of costumes on Broadway, Hollywood films, and television. He is a Professor Emeritus of Theatre at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA, where Howard served as Resident Costume Designer and head of the Design Tech program. During that time, he was also an Associate Curator of Costumes and Textiles at Hillwood Museum and Gardens in Washington, DC. A Fellow of the Costume Society of America, Howard also served on its Board of Directors and has been Chair of the Endowment, Treasurer, and Treasurer and President of the Mid-Atlantic Region. He continues to lecture on a wide range of costume history topics for various organizations. 

In a recent interview, Howard answered questions about the award.

What was your impetus to create this award? 

“I wanted to create an award that acknowledges and encourages emerging/student costume theatre artists. While I have participated in many aspects of costumes throughout my career, my strongest connection (as noted by others) is as a mentor and a teacher to emerging artists… “

Why through CSA instead of another of your affiliations?

“This organization encompasses so many aspects of my career of research, education, preservation and design. While I may be quoting from our mission, it is the friendships I have made over the years that speak volumes of why I created this award for the next generation who share a passion for history and serious study of costume. 

“I feel CSA needs this for recognition of theatre craft and costume among the younger members … I also want to encourage other CSA members to create Awards through the Endowment by joining forces and perhaps pooling money to meet the substantial amount needed for each award. It is an opportunity to honor a worthy CSA member by naming an Award.” 

Howard made a point at the end of the interview to say that he feels it is important to let our younger members know that CSA is a source for mentorship, a term he uses to describe his teaching career. “Mentoring is not someone telling you what to do; it’s communication and guidance.” His belief in this philosophy has resulted in the creation of the CSA Howard Vincent Kurtz Emerging Theatre Artist Award. 

Contact the award committee chair, Aly Amidei for more information.