Maya Lin is a Chinese-American artist and architect. She is best known for her work, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, in Washington, D.C.
Birth, family, and education
Lin was born in Athens, Ohio, on October 5, 1959. Her parents were originally from China, but moved to Ohio in 1949. Her father is Henry Huan Lin. He taught art at Ohio University, and her mother, Julia Chang Lin, taught literature at the same school.
Maya Lin attended Yale University and received a bachelor of arts degree in architecture in 1981, and a master of architecture from Yale's School of Architecture in 1986. While she was still an undergraduate, Lin entered a public design competition for the Vietnam Memorial. She won the competition against 1,400 other entries. Lin was only 21 at the time.
The Vietnam Wall
The project was attacked from the beginning for several reasons, including the aesthetics of the design and Lin's heritage. However, Lin did not deviate from her efforts, and oversaw the entire construction process. The cut stone masonry “Wall” was granite and V-shaped with one side pointing to the Lincoln Memorial and the other to the Washington Monument. It was dedicated in 1982, and has become one of the most visited pubic memorials in the United States.
A career continues
Lin has created other works, including the Women's Table at Yale University (1993), and the Civil Rights Memorial at the Southern Poverty Law Center, Montgomery, Alabama (1988-1993). Lin is strongly concerned about the environment. She incorporates recycled, living, and other natural materials in her work.
Maya Lin has served on the Board of Energy Foundation as well as on the National Advisory Board to the Presidio Council in San Francisco. She also has served on The Southern Poverty Law Center's Teaching Tolerance project, the Kennedy Museum of Art at Ohio University, and Studio in a School in New York City, New York.
Honors and a home life
Lin has earned numerous awards during her lifetime, including the architecture prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters for building designs. She also has received the Presidential Design Award, The American Institute of Architects Honor Award, and the Henry Bacon Memorial Award; and honorary doctorates in Fine Arts from Harvard, Yale, Brown, Smith, and Williams.
She now owns and operates Maya Lin Studios in New York City, New York. She is married to Daniel Wolf and they have two children. Lin also was on the committee that selected the 9/11 memorial to be constructed at Ground Zero in Manhattan.
Lin is the subject of the Academy Award-winning documentary, Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision The title is derived from a speech she gave at Yale when she spoke of the monument design process.
For additional famous women, see Important and Famous Women in America .