Washington, D.C. — President Barack Obama presented the National Medal of Arts to eight recipients for their outstanding achievements and support of the arts. (Ten medalists were announced; however two are not able to attend the ceremony. Their medals will be presented at another time.) The medals were presented by the president in the East Room ceremony at the White House. Mrs. Michelle Obama was also in attendance. The National Medal of Arts is a White House initiative managed by the National Endowment for the Arts. Each year, the NEA organizes and oversees the National Medal of Arts nomination process and notifies the artists of their selection to receive a medal, the nation’s highest honor for artistic excellence.
“The National Medal of Arts recipients represent the many vibrant and diverse art forms thriving in America,” said NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman. “From criticism to literature, music, poetry, sculpture, and theater, these honorees’ devotion to shaping and sharing American art is unrivaled, and I join the President and the country in saluting them.”
The 2010 National Medal of Arts Recipients are:
Individuals Place of Birth
Quincy Jones, Musician and Music Producer Chicago, Illinois
Robert Brustein, Theatrical Critic, Producer, Playwright, and Educator New York, New York
Van Cliburn, Pianist and Music Educator Shreveport, Louisiana
Mark di Suvero, Sculptor Shanghai, China
Donald Hall, Poet New Haven, Connecticut
*Harper Lee, Author Monroeville, Alabama
Sonny Rollins, Jazz Musician Harlem, New York
*Meryl Streep, Actress Summit, New Jersey
James Taylor, Singer and Songwriter Boston, Massachusetts
Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Becket, Massachusetts
*Not able to attend
The National Medal of Arts, established by Congress in 1984, is awarded by the President and managed by the National Endowment for the Arts. Award recipients are selected based on their contributions to the creation, growth, and support of the arts in the United States. Each year, the Arts Endowment seeks nominations from individuals and organizations across the country. The National Council on the Arts, the Arts Endowment's presidentially-appointed and Senate-confirmed advisory body, reviews the nominations and provides recommendations to the President, who selects the recipients.