Honor Roll: 2005 National Medal of Arts

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NEA Chairman Dana Gioia (back center) with 2005 honorees. From l to r (back row) Wynton Marsalis, Paquito D'Rivera, Robert Duvall, Louis Auchincloss, Derek Gillman for the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (front) Ollie Johnston, Tina Ramirez, Len Gar

NEA Chairman Dana Gioia (back center) with 2005 honorees. From
l to r (back row) Wynton Marsalis, Paquito D'Rivera, Robert Duvall,
Louis Auchincloss, Derek Gillman for the Pennsylvania Academy of the
Fine Arts (front) Ollie Johnston, Tina Ramirez, Len Garment, James
DePreist. (Dolly Parton not pictured.) Photo: Christie Bow.

Eight master artists, a civic-minded arts patron, and the nation's oldest museum and fine arts academy were  honored with the National Medal of Arts this year. Mrs. Laura Bush joined President Bush as he presented nine of the recipients with their medals at a November 10 ceremony in the Oval Office. (Honoree Dolly Parton was unable to attend the ceremony and will receive her  medal at a later date.)  

"Each medal winner has helped define our era. Each  has excelled and demonstrated originality, endurance, and self-discipline. And together, their creativity inspires our students and elevates our culture, and enriches our nation," noted the president at a White House dinner later that evening.  

The nation's highest honor for artistic excellence, the National Medal of Arts is awarded each year to up to 12 individuals and organizations that have made enduring  contributions to American culture. Nominations for the honor, submitted by Congress and the general public, are carefully reviewed by the National Council on  the Arts before presentation to the White House for the president's final decision.  

Since the program's 1982 inception, 231 medals have been awarded to luminaries such as painter Georgia O'Keeffe, composer Aaron Copland, and choreographer Twyla Tharp.