President Obama to Award 2014 National Medals of Arts


Medal of Arts

The National Medal of Arts, designed by Robert Graham, and awarded by the President of the United States to individuals or groups who are deserving of special recognition by reason of their outstanding contributions to the excellence, growth, support, and availability of the arts in the United States.

Washington, DC — President Barack Obama will present the 2014 National Medals of Arts in conjunction with the National Humanities Medals on Thursday, September 10, 2015, at 3:00 p.m. ET in an East Room ceremony at the White House. First Lady Michelle Obama will attend. The event will be live streamed at

NEA Chairman Jane Chu said, "Ranging from literature, theater, and visual arts to arts presentation and philanthropy, these artists and organizations have broadened our horizons and enriched our lives. I join the President in congratulating them and celebrating what the arts do for America."

MEDIA REGISTRATION: This event will be open press, but space is limited.  Members of the media who wish to cover this event must RSVP via this link by 12:00 PM ET on Wednesday, September 9:

  • Press not holding White House hard passes must also fill out this form for access to the White House complex:
  • If you have any additional questions, please email with the subject line “Medals of Arts and Humanities.” 
  • ***RSVPs do not guarantee access. If we are able to accommodate your request for credentials, you will receive a confirmation after the deadline to RSVP has passed with further instructions and logistical details.*** 

OFFICIAL CITATIONS: These citations will be read by the President at the awards ceremony. The citation is followed by the medalists’ current place of residence.

John Baldessari for his contributions as a visual artist.  His ambitious work combines photography, painting, and text to push the boundaries of image, making him one of the most influential conceptual artists of our time. (Venice, CA)

Ping Chong for his contributions as a theater director, choreographer, and video and installation artist. Mr. Chong’s innovative performances explore race, history, technology, and art to challenge our understanding of humanity in the modern world. (New York, NY)

Miriam Colón for her contributions as an actress. Ms. Colón has been a trailblazer in film, television, and theater, and helped open doors for generations of Hispanic actors. (New York, NY)

The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation for supporting creative expression across the country. With generosity and a bold commitment to artistic risk, this foundation has helped artists, musicians, dancers, and actors share their talents, enriching the cultural life of our Nation.  (New York, NY)

Sally Field for her contributions as an actress and filmmaker. The dignity, empathy, and fearlessness of her performances have touched audiences around the world, and she has deployed those same qualities off-screen in her advocacy for women, LGBT rights, and public health (Los Angeles, CA)

Ann Hamilton for her contributions as a visual artist. Ms. Hamilton uses time as process and material, and her work demonstrates the importance of experiencing the arts first-hand in the digital age. (Columbus, OH)

Stephen King for his contributions as an author. One of the most popular and prolific writers of our time, Mr. King combines his remarkable storytelling with his sharp analysis of human nature.  For decades, his works of horror, suspense, science fiction, and fantasy have terrified and delighted audiences around the world. (Bangor, ME)

Meredith Monk for her contributions as a composer, singer, and performer. Renowned for her groundbreaking vocal techniques, Ms. Monk has reimagined the instrument of voice with her innovative work. (New York, NY)

George Shirley for his contributions as a tenor. The first African American tenor to sing in a leading role at the Metropolitan Opera, Mr. Shirley has captivated audiences for more than 50 years with his masterful performances.  As a pioneer and as a teacher, Mr. Shirley has paved the way for generations of aspiring African American opera singers. (Ann Arbor, MI)

University Musical Society for presenting the performing arts to communities in Michigan. For over a century, the Society has brought world-class orchestras, dance ensembles, jazz performers, and theater companies to Michigan, while supporting the study and creation of new works. (Ann Arbor, MI)

Tobias Wolff for his contributions as an author and educator.  His raw works of fiction examine themes of American identity and individual morality. With wit and compassion, Mr. Wolff’s work reflects the truths of our human experience. (Stanford, CA)

PHOTOGRAPHS: Photos of each medalist with the President are available for download from this page.

Join the conversation on Twitter at #ArtsHumanitiesMedal.

MEDALIST CONTENT: Tobias Wolff is an NEA Big Read author with his book Old School and appears in a video interview discussing his life and his work. The NEA has podcasts with Ping Chong and Meredith Monk.

The 2014 National Humanities Medals will be presented at the same ceremony. Among the recipients is author Jhumpa Lahiri who is also an NEA Big Read author for her novel The Namesake.

The National Medal of Arts is the highest award given to artists and arts patrons by the federal government. It is awarded by the president of the United States to individuals or groups who are deserving of special recognition by reason of their outstanding contributions to the excellence, growth, support, and availability of the arts in the United States.  Please see additional information on the NEA website.  

The National Endowment for the Arts manages the nomination process on behalf of the White House. Each year, the Arts Endowment seeks nominations from individuals and organizations across the country. The National Council on the Arts, the NEA’s presidentially appointed and Senate-confirmed advisory body, reviews the nominations and provides recommendations to the President, who selects the recipients.

About the National Endowment for the Arts

Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America.


Victoria Hutter,, 202-682-5692

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Images of each medalist receiving their award from President Obama are available for download here.