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Wynn P. Thomas Among Art Directors Guild’s Lifetime Achievement Award Honorees

David Lowery, Greg Papalia, Wynn P. Thomas and Francine West will receive Lifetime Achievement Awards at the 28th annual Art Directors Guild (IATSE Local 800) Awards, which will be presented Feb. 10 at the Ray Dolby Ballroom.

Thomas, who won ADG Awards for Hidden Figures and Da 5 Bloods, is the first African American production designer to join the Guild. His additional credits include A Beautiful Mind and A Bronx Tale, as well as the 2023 Academy Award best picture nominee King Richard. During his long-standing relationship with Spike Lee, Thomas has designed the director’s major films including Malcolm X and Do The Right Thing.

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Thomas recently completed a six-year term as a Governor of the Designers Branch of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.

“Wynn P. Thomas has significantly shaped the landscape of filmmaking, and his diverse body of work reflects his innovative approach and commitment to storytelling. Beyond his artistic achievements, Thomas is dedicated to mentoring the next generation of designers. Thomas has not only broken barriers but also paved the way for future generations,” says Evan Rhode, art directors council chair.

West was the first female scenic artist ever hired to work on film and television by both MGM and the NBC Television Network, as well as the first woman to be a charge artist at Grosh Scenic Studios in Hollywood. During her career, she worked at the ABC, NBC and CBS scenic shops, on television shows including Frank Sinatra: A Man and His MusicThe Carol Burnett Show and Three’s Company. She also worked on live event programs such as The Academy Awards, The Emmy Awards and Super Bowl XVII.

“Francine West stands out as a trailblazer and pioneer for women in the Scenic Arts. Francine embodies the qualities of a hard worker, team player, mentor, and teacher. Her influence continues as she imparts these qualities to the upcoming generation of Scenic Artists,” says Clint Schultz, scenic, title and graphic artists council chair.

Lowery has worked on more than 100 films including Jurassic Park, The Lion King, Willow, Iron Man, and all three Sam Raimi Spiderman films. He was the co-head of story on Shrek, as well as head of storyboards and associate producer on The Mandalorian.

“David’s 36-year career as a storyboard artist is full of blockbuster movies and beloved franchises with every A-List director in Hollywood,” said Tim Wilcox, illustrators and matte artists council chair. “His contributions to the cinematic art of storytelling through his storyboards are a testament to his great talent.”

Papalia began his career designing sets for films including Coming to America, Die Hard 2, Father of the Bride and The Patriot. As his skill and reputation grew, Papalia added the title of art director to his resume, but combined that new role with his previous one. He has served as both art director and set designer on projects including Air, Godzilla vs. Kong, Hail, Caesar! and Those Who Wish Me Dead.

The set designers and model makers council of the Art Directors Guild said in a statement: “Greg’s work and dedication to his craft have been an inspiration to us all. He has served the members, inspired future set designers, and created beautiful drawings and sets on many productions, throughout a long career.”

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