WASHINGTON, DC.- President Barack Obama presented the National Medal of Arts to ten recipients for their outstanding achievements and support of the arts. (Twelve medalists were announced; however two were not able to attend the ceremony. Their medals will be presented at another time.) The medals were presented by the president and Mrs. Michele Obama in an East Room ceremony at the White House. 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 nations highest honor for artistic excellence.
"These individuals and organizations show us how many ways art works every day. They represent the breadth and depth of American architecture, design, film, music, performance, theatre, and visual art," said NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman. "This lifetime honor recognizes their exceptional contributions, and I join the President and the country in saluting them."
The 2009 National Medal of Arts Recipients
Bob Dylan, Singer, Songwriter
Clint Eastwood, Director, Actor
Milton Glaser, Graphic Designer
Maya Lin, Artist, Designer
Rita Moreno, Singer, Dancer, Actress
Jessye Norman, Soprano
Joseph P. Riley, Jr., Arts Patron, Design Advocate
Frank Stella, Painter, Sculptor
Michael Tilson Thomas, Conductor
John Williams, Composer, Conductor
The Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Conservatory, Oberlin, OH
The School of American Ballet, Ballet School, New York, NY
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.