President Obama to Award 2012 National Medal of Arts

Awards Ceremony will be Live Streamed at

Washington, DC — On Wednesday, July 10, 2013, at 2:00 p.m., President Barack Obama will present the National Medal of Arts in conjunction with the National Humanities Medals. The medals will be presented by the President during an East Room ceremony at the White House. First Lady 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.

This event will also be live streamed at and an archive of the video will be available after the event on the White House YouTube page. The ceremony will be open press. Members of the media who wish to attend must RSVP to before 3PM ET, Tuesday, July 9. NOTE: Members of the media who do not have a White House hard pass must also submit their full name (including middle name), date of birth, Social Security number, gender, country of birth, country of citizenship, and current city and state of residence. If the White House is able to accommodate your request for credentials, they will send a confirmation with further instructions and logistical details.

NEA Acting Chairman Joan Shigekawa said, "The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to join the President in honoring and celebrating the American arts community. From landscape design to musicians to writers, these 12 recipients are representative of the breadth and excellence of art that is flourishing in the United States."

The 2012 National Medal of Arts recipients are:

Herb Alpert, Musician and Producer
         Currently resides in Malibu, California

Lin Arison, Arts Patron
         Currently resides in Bal Harbour, Florida

Joan Myers Brown, Dance Company Founder and Director
         Currently resides in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Renée Fleming, Soprano
         Currently resides in New York, New York

Ernest Gaines, Author
         Currently resides in Oscar, Louisiana

Ellsworth Kelly, Visual Artist
         Currently resides in Spencertown, New York

Tony Kushner, Playwright
         Currently resides in New York, New York

George Lucas, Director and Producer
         Currently resides in San Anselmo, California

Elaine May, Writer, Director, and Performer
         Currently resides in New York, New York

Laurie Olin, Landscape Architect
         Currently resides in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Allen Toussaint, Musician and Producer
        Currently resides in New Orleans, Louisiana

Washington Performing Arts Society, Presenter
        Located in Washington, DC

In addition, author Marilynne Robinson is one of the 12 recipients of a 2012 National Humanities Medal. Robinson is the author of Housekeeping, one of the works of literature that is a part of the NEA's Big Read, a program designed to revitalize the role of literature in American culture and to encourage citizens to read for pleasure and enlightenment. Other recipients of the 2012 National Humanities Medal includes Kay Ryan, former Poet Laureate and recipient of an NEA Literature Fellowship in Creative Writing, and Anna Deavere Smith, host of the 2013 Poetry Out Loud National Finals, a partnership of the NEA, the Poetry Foundation, and the State Arts Agencies which encourages high school students to memorize and perform great poems.

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 2012 National Medal of Arts.

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

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


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