Sofia Coppola Honored at 18th McKim Medal Gala at Villa Aurelia

From left: Calvin Tsao, Aliza Wong, Carla Markell, Rachel Feinstein, Sofia Coppola, Margherita Marenghi Vaselli, Maria Teresa Venturini Fendi, Peter N. Miller

The American Academy in Rome honored filmmaker and and screenwriter Sofia Coppola at yesterday’s McKim Medal Gala at Villa Aurelia in Rome. The annual benefit, now in its eighteenth year, marks the profound relationship between Italy and the United States and recognizes the work of individuals who have contributed to the intense artistic and humanistic dialogue between the two nations. The evening raised over $900,000 to support the American Academy and its fellowships.

This year, the McKim Medal was presented to Coppola for “her brilliance, her generosity, her visionary filmmaking,” in the words of AAR Director Aliza Wong. The ceremony brought together luminaries from the worlds of business, politics, art, fashion, and entertainment.

Accepting the award, which was presented by artist Rachel Feinstein, Coppola thanked AAR for the honor. “The Academy in Rome is built on this idea of a community of artists in many mediums having a place to work and come together. It’s a place I had always hoped to visit and be a part of someday.… Thank you to the Academy for all that it does to support artists and for including me with this legendary McKim Medal designed by the great Cy Twombly.”

“Over the past 130 years, Rome has welcomed more than two thousand scholars from the American Academy,” said AAR President Peter N. Miller. “Today, the Academy's role and importance as a pillar supporting US-Italian relations could not be stronger.”

Color photo of a light skinned man wearing a dinner jacket and pink purple bowtie talks to an unseen woman in a garden location
Peter N. Miller, President of the American Academy in Rome


At the gala, AAR announced an exciting new collaboration between the American Academy in Rome, Bvlgari, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and MAXXI – National Museum of 21st Century Arts. The partnership, generously sponsored by Bvlgari, will support fellowships in 2025, 2027, and 2029 that will bring an American and an Italian artist to the Academy for short-term residencies.

Additionally, the Carla Fendi Rome Prize was formally conferred at the gala by actor Nina Pons Fendi to artist Kamrooz Aram (2024 Fellow).

The sold-out event, chaired by Margherita Marenghi Vaselli, celebrated the Italo-American cultural exchange that has been at the heart of life at the American Academy in Rome for 130 years. The Honorary Gala Chairs were Ginevra Elkann, Carla Markell, and Maria Teresa Venturini Fendi, and the Founding Gala Chair is Verdella Caracciolo De Benedictis.

“The gala not only serves as a bridge between the Academy and the city of Rome but also as a radiant moment to honor and elevate the remarkable achievements in arts and culture,” said Marenghi Vaselli.

The date of the gala, June 5, was bookended by two important historical anniversaries: the 80th anniversary of the Liberation of Rome by Allied Forces from Nazi occupation, on June 4, and the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings, on June 6. A short film projected on the façade of Villa Aurelia commemorated these events, as well as the Academy Fellows who were the “Monuments Men” that rescued the art looted by the Nazis.

The Present Sponsor for the evening was Bulgari SpA. The Corporate Benefactor was Fondazione Valentino Garavani e Giancarlo Giammetti. Corporate Patrons for the evening were Gagosian and Lottomatica Group. The event’s Corporate Supporters were: Amanita; Assicurazioni Generali; Blazé Milano; Bloomberg; Boies Schiller Flexner Italy; Carla Fendi Foundation; Chanel; Chiomenti; Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP; Fendi; Fincantieri SpA; Gianni & Origoni; Giorgio Armani; Jefferies; and Valnetino SpA. Wine and cocktail sponsors of the evening were Cantina Paolo e Noemia d’Amico, FIOL Prosecco D.O.C., and Belvedere Vodka.

The media partner for the 2024 McKim Medal Gala was Rai Cultura.

The McKim Medal

The McKim Medal was established by the American Academy in Rome in 2005 as an annual prize that honors an individual whose work—most particularly in Italy and the United States—has contributed significantly to the arts and humanities. Previous McKim Medal Gala laureates include Massimo Bottura, Matteo Garrone, Cecilia Alemani, Luca Guadagnino, Paola Antonelli, Roberto Benigni, Sir Antonio Pappano, Paolo Sorrentino, Carlo Petrini, Renzo Piano, Cy Twombly, Umberto Eco, Franco Zeffirelli, Ennio Morricone, Miuccia Prada, Luigi Ontani, Riccardo Muti, and Bernardo Bertolucci. The medal, dedicated to architect Charles Follen McKim (1847–1909), one of the founders of the American Academy in Rome, was designed by Cy Twombly and handcrafted by Bvlgari.

American Academy in Rome

Since 1894 the American Academy in Rome has functioned as a residential center for research and creativity. Its purpose has always been to enable highly motivated scholars and artists to immerse themselves in the experience of Rome, ancient and modern, and to be inspired by daily exchange with the other members of this creative community. The Academy has made an outsized impact on the intellectual and cultural life of the United States, and its Fellows and Residents have been recognized with 629 Guggenheim Fellowships, 75 Pulitzer Prizes, 53 MacArthur Fellowships, 26 Grammy awards, 5 Pritzker Prizes, 9 Poet Laureate appointments, and 5 Nobel Prizes. Approximately 35 Fellows are selected as winners of the Rome Prize each year by rotating juries in the different fields.

Press inquiries

Andrew Mitchell

Director of Communications

212-751-7200, ext. 342

a.mitchell [at] aarome.org (a[dot]mitchell[at]aarome[dot]org)

Maddalena Bonicelli

Rome Press Officer

+39 335 6857707

m.bonicelli.ext [at] aarome.org (m[dot]bonicelli[dot]ext[at]aarome[dot]org)