1959 – Present
The Vietnam War had ended only seven years before Maya Lin, a student of architecture at Yale University, entered a public design contest for its Memorial. Maya’s design beat almost 1,500 other entries in a blind-judging. Her concept for the Memorial incorporated natural elements and was to be a place where Veterans and families of the fallen could grieve and heal. Though she won, not all saw the beauty of her design. Being called to testify before the U.S. Congress, Ms. Lin presented her vision with such clarity and passion that they upheld her victory.
In addition to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Ms. Lin has created structural art worldwide including: The Eleven Minute Line (Sweden), The Civil Rights Memorial (Montgomery, Alabama), and what she calls her last memorial, entitled: What is Missing – an interactive website dedicated to environmental awareness. For her dedication to the arts and the environment, Ms. Lin has been awarded honorary doctorates from Harvard and Yale Universities as well as from Williams, and Smith Colleges respectively. In 2009, President Barack Obama presented Maya Lin with the National Medal of Arts and in 2016, the nations highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.