2015 National Medal of Arts Ceremony Photos

NATIONAL MEDAL OF ARTS CEREMONY

September 22, 2016

For media use only. Please contact the NEA Public Affairs office at 202-682-5570 with other usage requests.

President Barack Obama presents the National Medal of Arts to Mel Brooks

President Barack Obama presents the National Medal of Arts to Mel Brooks in a White House ceremony on September 22, 2016. A citation read during the ceremony said, “As a writer, director, actor, and musician, he pioneered the art of musical comedy, and his hilarious, thought-provoking work on film and in theater have earned him the rare distinction of winning Oscar, Emmy, Tony, and Grammy awards.” Photo by Cheriss May, Ndemay Media Group

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President Barack Obama presents the National Medal of Arts to Sandra Cisneros

President Barack Obama presents the National Medal of Arts to Sandra Cisneros in a White House ceremony on September 22, 2016. A citation read during the ceremony said, “Through her novels, short stories, and poetry, she explores issues of race, class, and gender through the lives of ordinary people straddling multiple cultures. As an educator, she has deepened our understanding of American identity.” Photo by Cheriss May, Ndemay Media Group

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President Barack Obama presents the National Medal of Arts to the Eugene O’Neill

President Barack Obama presents the National Medal of Arts to the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center (accepting is Preston Whiteway, Executive Director) in a White House ceremony on September 22, 2016. A citation read during the ceremony said, “For over 50 years, the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center has nurtured award-winning playwrights, directors, and actors, enriched the craft of stage production, and delighted audiences with exceptional programs.” Photo by Cheriss May, Ndemay Media Group

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President Barack Obama presents the National Medal of Arts to Philip Glass

President Barack Obama presents the National Medal of Arts to Philip Glass in a White House ceremony on September 22, 2016. A citation read during the ceremony said, “One of the most prolific, inventive, and influential artists of our time, he has expanded musical possibility with his operas, symphonies, film scores, and wide-ranging collaborations.” Photo by Cheriss May, Ndemay Media Group

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President Barack Obama presents the National Medal of Arts to Berry Gordy

President Barack Obama presents the National Medal of Arts to Berry Gordy in a White House ceremony on September 22, 2016. A citation read during the ceremony said, “As a record producer and songwriter, he helped build Motown, launching the music careers of countless legendary artists. His unique sound helped shape our Nation’s story.” Photo by Cheriss May, Ndemay Media Group

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President Barack Obama presents the National Medal of Arts to Santiago Jiménez

President Barack Obama presents the National Medal of Arts to Santiago Jiménez, Jr. in a White House ceremony on September 22, 2016. A citation read during the ceremony said, “He has helped spread traditional conjunto music, blending the sounds and cultures of south Texas and Mexico. His lively melodies performed on the two-button accordion have captivated audiences around the world Photo by Cheriss May, Ndemay Media Group

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President Barack Obama presents the National Medal of Arts to Moises

President Barack Obama presents the National Medal of Arts to Moises Kaufman in a White House ceremony on September 22, 2016. A citation read during the ceremony said, “His work sensitively probes questions of culture and sexuality. His award-winning Tectonic Theater Project continues to move audiences with its bold portrayals of contemporary social issues.” Photo by Cheriss May, Ndemay Media Group

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President Barack Obama presents the National Medal of Arts to Ralph Lemon

President Barack Obama presents the National Medal of Arts to Ralph Lemon in a White House ceremony on September 22, 2016. A citation read during the ceremony said, “As a self-proclaimed conceptualist, he uses dance as a source of physical communication, and his complex works withstand examination from all angles, revealing intimate truths about human nature and offering broader insights into the American experience.” Photo by Cheriss May, Ndemay Media Group

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President Barack Obama presents the National Medal of Arts to Audra McDonald

President Barack Obama presents the National Medal of Arts to Audra McDonald in a White House ceremony on September 22, 2016. A citation read during the ceremony said, “An unforgettable performer, she has won six Tony awards. In musicals, concerts, operas, and the recording studio, her rich, soulful voice continues to take her audiences to new heights.” Photo by Cheriss May, Ndemay Media Group

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President Barack Obama presents the National Medal of Arts to Luis Valdez in

President Barack Obama presents the National Medal of Arts to Luis Valdez in a White House ceremony on September 22, 2016. A citation read during the ceremony said, “As a playwright, actor, writer, and director, he illuminates the human spirit in the face of social injustice through award-winning stage, film, and television productions.” Photo by Cheriss May, Ndemay Media Group

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President Barack Obama presents the National Medal of Arts to Jack Whitten

Photo by Cheriss May, Ndemay Media Group

President Barack Obama presents the National Medal of Arts to Jack Whitten in a White House ceremony on September 22, 2016. A citation read during the ceremony said, “As an abstract artist, he uses ‘casting,’ acrylic paints, and compounds to create new surfaces and textures, challenging our perceptions of shape and color. His powerful works of art put the American story in a new light.” Photo by Cheriss May, Ndemay Media Group

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Note: 2016 National Medal of Arts recipient Morgan Freeman was unable to attend the ceremony. His citation reads, “His iconic stage and screen performances have brought to life characters from the whole spectrum of the human experience, moving audiences around the world, and influencing countless young artists.”