National Medal of Arts

Features

Read our interview with artist and architect Maya Lin about innovation, or watch our milestone video about her career.
Read the president's full remarks from the 2015 National Medal of Art and National Humanities Medal ceremony here .
Man instructing young ballerinas at ballet barre
A product of the imperial courts of France and Russia, classical ballet is steeped in aristocratic ideals. Key to its history was a patrician vision of purity, uniformity, and whiteness...
"The arts and humanities aren't just there to be consumed when we have a free moment. We need them like medicine. They help us live." -- President Barack Obama at the 2013 National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal ceremony You can view an archive of the live webcast of the...
Latino dancer practicing.
In 1970, dancer, choreographer, and future National Medal of the Arts honoree Tina Ramirez founded Ballet Hispanico . As current artistic director Eduardo Vilaro explained, Ramirez created the company “in...
“I don't think that my job is to represent people, or to assist in a political struggle. I feel like it's my job as a citizen to do that, but as an artist, my job is more I think to try and describe the world as truthfully as I'm able to do it, and to get below the surface of things, to get at...
Listing all of Ernest Gaines’s achievements would likely take up an entire paragraph or five. There’s been a Guggenheim Fellowship, an NEA Fellowship, a National Book Critics Circle Award, and critically acclaimed books such as The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman , A Gathering of Old Men , and...
“If you’re creating things, you’re doing things that have a high potential for failure, especially if you’re doing things that haven’t been done before. And you learn from those things. No matter how you cut it, you say, “Well, that didn’t work,” or...
“On a civic level, especially in areas needing revitalization, art works to give citizens a sense of pride and shared investment in their community.” — Renée Fleming Did you know that Renée Fleming had planned to be a jazz singer? Lucky for us “The People’s Diva...
"Failure is another word for experience."---George Lucas The story starts a long time ago in a galaxy far far away in 1950s Modesto, California, where a young boy grows up liking to draw and build things. A lot. Thanks to parental disapproval, he studies anthropology not art in college,...

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