National Medal of Arts

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“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,...
"The thread that unifies all great artists is their passion. It’s contagious. Just be near them for a moment and you’ll see that you’ll get swept up in their vision." --- Lin Arison Given that Lin Arison's passion for the arts ignited during a grade-school trip to an...
Text by David Remnick Photos by Ralph Alswang Herb Albert receives the National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama. David Remnick, editor of the New Yorker, delivered the keynote address at the dinner hosted by the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities to celebrate the...
Music is powerful and something that resonates in the soul. It doesn't resonate in the ears. It resonates in the body, and when people get it, they get it….” --- Herb Alpert You may know Herb Alpert as a Grammy award-winning trumpeter and founder of Tijuana Brass. You may also know...
Ask someone to name a classical musician, and they'll likely reel off names such as Mozart, Chopin, Beethoven, Bach, or Tchaikovsky. Ask them to name a classical musician from the 21st century however, and the task might become a little more difficult. Yo-Yo Ma , however, is an exception. Since...
In this week's podcast , we meet 2009 National Medal of Arts recipient Michael Tilson Thomas, who has long been a transformative figure in American classical music. Music director of the San Francisco Symphony since 1995, he helped develop that organization into one of the world’s leading...

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