The Iris Foundation Awards Luncheon has been postponed to April 28, 2021, in light of the rapidly changing situation surrounding COVID-19. Learn more.



Join Us!
The 24th Annual Iris Foundation Awards Luncheon
Wednesday, April 1, 2020
Noon until 2:30 pm
Colony Club, 564 Park Avenue, New York City


Bard Graduate Center Founder and Director Susan Weber created the Iris Foundation Awards in 1997 to recognize scholars, patrons, and professionals who have made outstanding contributions to the study and appreciation of the decorative arts, design history, and material culture.

On April 1, 2020, we proudly honor:

Dr. Stephen K. Scher, Outstanding Patron
David Revere McFadden, Outstanding Lifetime Achievement
Sanchita Balachandran, Outstanding Mid-Career Scholar
Cristina Grajales, Outstanding Dealer

Proceeds benefit the Bard Graduate Center Scholarship Fund.


Individual Tickets: $1,250/$750/$500 ($150 non tax-deductible)


For tables of 10: $5,000/$10,000/$25,000 ($1,500 non tax-deductible), please call Minna Lee at 212.501.3038.

Unable to attend? Please consider making a fully tax-deductible contribution.

About the Iris Awards 2020 Honorees

Outstanding Patron, Dr. Stephen K. Scher
An avid contributor to the art world, Dr. Steven K. Scher has lectured and published extensively on medieval and Renaissance art. He taught in the Brown University art department from 1961 to 1974, and was president and chief executive officer of Scher Chemicals, Inc. until his retirement in 2004. He has organized exhibitions at The Frick Collection, the National Gallery of Art (Washington, DC), and the National Galleries of Scotland. Dr. Scher also assembled a significant collection of commemorative portrait medals, the bulk of which was donated to The Frick in 2017. He currently serves as a member of visiting committees at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Frick Collection and associate trustee of the Yale Library. For his service, Dr. Scher received the Yale Medal (2015) and the British Art Medal Society’s President’s Medal (2018).

Outstanding Lifetime Achievement, David Revere McFadden
David Revere McFadden joined the staff of the Museum of Arts and Design as chief curator in 1997, and retired in 2013 as chief curator emeritus. From 1978 to 1995, McFadden was curator of decorative arts and assistant director for collections and research at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. For six years, he served as president of the International Council of Museums’ Decorative Arts and Design Committee. In his distinguished career, McFadden has organized over 150 exhibitions on decorative arts, design, and craft, including Hair (1980), Scandinavian Modern 1880-1980 (1982), Wine: Celebration and Ceremony (1985), and Slash: Paper Under the Knife (2009). For his work in cultural affairs, McFadden has been named Knight, First Class, of the Order of the Lion of Finland (1984); Knight Commander of the Order of the Polar Star of Sweden (1988); and Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the Republic of France (1989). McFadden has received the Presidential Design Award for Excellence three times (1994, 1995, and 1997).


Outstanding Mid-Career Scholar, Sanchita Balachandran
Sanchita Balachandran is associate director of the Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum and senior lecturer in the department of Near Eastern studies at Johns Hopkins University. Trained as an objects conservator specializing in archaeological materials, she uncovers traces of past peoples and cultural practices on objects. For a recent exhibition, Who Am I? Remembering the Dead through Facial Reconstruction (2018), Balachandran collaborated with specialists to reconstruct the faces of two ancient Egyptian women. She teaches courses on the technical study of ancient objects and the history and ethics of museum conservation. Balachandran is a fellow of the American Institute for Conservation and founder and director of Untold Stories, a non-profit organization that represents and preserves a fuller spectrum of human cultural heritage in art conversation.

Outstanding Dealer, Cristina Grajales
Hailed as one of the most respected experts in the design field, Cristina Grajales founded her eponymous gallery in New York in 2001. She previously served as director of 1950 Gallery from 1990 to 2000, where she developed the gallery into a premiere source for mid-century design. Cristina Grajales Gallery is one of the forerunners in the design world, specializing in contemporary and twentieth-century design and the cultivation of emerging designers. With over thirty years of experience, Grajales has served as an advisor to a number of collectors, assisting them in building valuable collections. In 2001, she founded the lecture series “Dialogues with Design Legends” at the 92nd Street Y. Grajales is a frequent guest lecturer, panelist, and contributor to various publications, and maintains a full program of exhibitions at international art and design fairs.