White House Announces 2010 National Medal of Arts Recipients

Presidential initiative is managed by the National Endowment for the Arts

Washington, D.C. - Tomorrow, President Barack Obama will present the National Medal of Arts to eight recipients for their outstanding achievements and support of the arts. (Ten medalists were announced; however two are not able to attend the ceremony. Their medals will be presented at another time.) The medals will be presented by the president in the East Room ceremony at the White House. Mrs. Michelle Obama will also be in attendance. 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 nation's highest honor for artistic excellence.

"The National Medal of Arts recipients represent the many vibrant and diverse art forms thriving in America," said NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman. "From criticism to literature, music, poetry, sculpture, and theater, these honorees' devotion to shaping and sharing American art is unrivaled, and I join the President and the country in saluting them."

The 2010 National Medal of Arts Recipients are:


  Place of birth
Robert BrusteinTheatrical Critic, Producer, Playwright, and Educator   New York, New York
Van CliburnPianist and Music Educator   Shreveport, Louisiana
Mark di SuveroSculptor   Shanghai, China
Donald HallPoet   New Haven, Connecticut
Quincy JonesMusician and Music Producer   Chicago, Illinois
*Harper LeeAuthor   Monroeville, Alabama
Sonny RollinsJazz Musician   Harlem, New York
*Meryl StreepActress   Summit, New Jersey
James TaylorSinger and Songwriter   Boston, Massachusetts

* Not able to attend


Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, Becket, Massachusetts

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.

The National Endowment for the Arts gratefully acknowledges The President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities for its support of the 2010 National Medal of Arts.

Please see additional information on the National Medal of Arts on the NEA web site.

The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector. To join the discussion on how art works, visit the NEA at


Liz Stark(NEA)

Related Content

See the video of President Obama awarding the 2010 National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal at the White House, March 2, 2011.

Please see the transcript of the President's remarks.