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National Endowment for the Arts 






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2001 National Medal of Arts recipient Judith 
Jamison, artistic director of the Alvin Ailey 
Dance Foundation (which also received a 
National Medal of Arts in 2001), surrounded 
by dance students who performed at the 
Medals ceremony. 
Photo by Neshan Naltchayan 

What is the National Medal of Arts? 

The National Medal of Arts is the highest award 
given to artists and arts patrons by the United 
States government. These individuals, through 
their creativity, inspiration, and hard work, have 
significantly enriched the cultural life of our nation. 

When the award program began in 1984, it was 
envisioned that the National Medal of Arts would 
honor the extraordinary accomplishments of those 
engaged in the creation and production of the arts in the United States. 
Looking at the list of those honored over more than 20 years, one can see 
the breadth of artistic endeavors in this country. From writers such as Saul 
Bellow, Richard Wilbur, and Ralph Ellison to visual artists such as Georgia 
O'Keeffe, Romare Bearden, and Roy Lichtenstein to musicians Dave 
Brubeck, Aaron Copland, and Ray Charles, the map of American artistic 
achievement is clearly drawn. 

We at the Arts Endowment strive to support artistic excellence in the 
United States, and the National Medal of Arts recipients demonstrate 
that the arts are continuing to thrive. Dynamic, diverse, and original, the 
arts are an essential part of our American identity and civilization. As 
President Reagan stated at the 1987 ceremony, "The arts and humanities 
teach us who we are and what we can be. They lie at the very core of the 
culture of which we are a part, and they provide the foundation from which 
we may reach out to other cultures so that the great heritage that is ours 
may be enriched by — as well as itself enrich — other enduring traditions." 

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Dana Gioia 


National Endowment for the Arts 

National Council on the Arts 




Brief History o/the National Medal of Arts 

In 1983, prior to the official establishment of the National Medal of Arts, 
President Ronald Reagan presented a medal to the following artists and 
patrons at a White House luncheon arranged by the President's Committee 
on the Arts and the Humanities: (artists) Pinchas Zukerman, Frederica Von 
Stade, Czeslaw Milosz, Frank Stella, Philip Johnson, and Luis Valdez; 
(patrons) The Texaco Philanthropic Foundation, James Michener 
(considered a patron for the award), Philip Morris, Inc., The Cleveland 
Foundation, Elma Lewis, and The Dayton Hudson Foundation. This was 
the beginning step in creating a Presidential award for those who 
significantly contributed to the cultural life of our nation. 

On May 31, 1984, President Reagan signed legislation creating the National 
Medal of Arts, authorizing the President to award up to 12 medals a year 
to "individuals or groups who in the President's judgment 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." 

The National Council on the Arts, the advisory board for the National 
Endowment for the Arts, is responsible for recommending candidates for 
the medal to the President. Unlike other arts awards, the National Medal of 
Arts is not limited to a single field or area of artistic endeavor. It is designed 
to honor exemplary individuals and organizations that have encouraged the 
arts in America and offered inspiration to others through their distinguished 
achievement, support, or patronage. 


The National Medal of Arts was designed by internationally renowned 
sculptor Robert Graham, whose design was chosen by a special committee 
of the National Council on the Arts from among 31 designs submitted in 
a national competition. Mr. Graham is known for creating the Gateway for 
the XXIII Olympiad in Los Angeles, California. 

For more than 20 years, the recipients of the National Medal of Arts have 
touched every aspect of artistic life in the United States, from the fine arts 
to popular culture. The award has honored not only those whose vision and 
creativity provided the American public with their art work, but also those 
whose support of the arts has been crucial to its development. 

President Ronald Reagan at the 1987 National Medal of 
Arts reception with (clockwise from President's left) 
William Schuman, Isamu Noguchi, Alwin Nikolais, 
Howard Nemerov, and Ella Fitzgerald. 
White House photo by Pete Souza 


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How to Submit Nominations 
for the National Medal of Arts 

Annually, the National Endowment for the Arts initiates the selection 
process for the National Medal of Arts by soliciting nominations from the 
public. The National Council on the Arts reviews the nominations and 
draws up a list of recommendations that it submits to the President. 
Typically, the announcement of the year's awardees is made by the White 
House in the fall. 

The period of nomination for the National Medal of Arts is January through 
March 15. To submit a nomination, please complete a nomination form, 
which includes a one-page biography of the nominee's accomplishments. 
Because of difficulties with the receipt of mail, nominations are only 
accepted online at the Arts Endowment's Web site: More 
information on the nomination process can be found on the Web site 
as well. 







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Frequently Asked Questions: 

Who is eligible to receive the National Medal of Arts? 

Nominees must be living U.S. citizens or permanent residents who 
have filed for naturalization and who are eligible to become U.S. citizens. 
Nominated organizations must be established or incorporated in the 
United States. 

Can I submit more than one nomination? 

Yes, but you must complete separate nomination forms for each nominee. 

Where do I find detailed information to submit about my nominee? 

If you do not personally know the nominee (or wish to keep your 
nomination a surprise), you may find information at your local library in the 
reference section. Who's Who in America and other biographic reference books 
are often good sources of information. Internet searches may also turn up 
good material. Ask your librarian for other suggestions. Check the list of 
previous awardees to ensure that your nomination has not already received a 
National Medal of Arts. 

What information must I submit for my nomination? 

Career highlights, not comprehensive biographies, are requested. Provide 
the source of the information if possible. This award is bestowed only to 
US. citizens who have made exceptional contributions to the arts so the 
most competitive nominees will be familiar to the reviewers. The purpose 
of your nomination is to present reasons why your nominee is deserving 
of this high honor. 

The information requested on the "For All Nominations" section is the 
most important; any critical biographical material must be provided here. 
Brochures, books, or music samples will not be accepted. 

NEA Chairman Gioia (back center) with 2005 National Medal of Arts recipients: 
(clockwise from left back) Wynton Marsalis, Paquito D'Rivera, Robert Duvall, 
Louis Auchincloss, Derek Gil/man for the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 
James DePreist, Leonard Garment, Tina Ramirez, and Ollie Johnston. 
Photo by Christie Bow 

National Council on the Arts 

The National Council on the Arts (NCA) advises the Chairman of 
the National Endowment for the Arts, who also chairs the Council, on 
agency policies and programs. It reviews and makes recommendations 
to the Chairman on applications for grants, funding guidelines, and 
leadership initiatives. 

The NCA was established by the National Arts and Cultural Development 
Act of 1964, a full year before the federal agency was created by 
Congressional legislation. The National Foundation on the Arts and the 
Humanities Act of 1965 established the National Endowment for the Arts 
and provided that private citizens serve as advisors to the NEA Chairman as 
members of the National Council on the Arts. Members are appointed by 
the President with the advice and consent of the Senate for six-year terms. 

Since 1997, the Council has consisted of 14 private citizens and six 
members of Congress, who serve in an ex officio, non-voting capacity for 
two-year terms. 

NCA members as of January 2007: 

Dana Gioia 


James K. Ballinger 

Museum Director 
Phoenix, AZ 

Ben Donenberg 

Theater Producer/Arts 

Los Angeles, CA 

Makoto Fujimura 

Visual Artist 
New York, NY 

David H. Gelernter 

Woodbridge, CT 

Chico Hamilton 

NEA Jazz Master 

New York, NY 


Theater Administrator 
Boise, ID 

Joan Israelite 

Local Arts Agency 

Lee's Summit, MO 

Charlotte Power Kessler 

Arts Patron 
New Albany, OH 

Bret Lott 


Baton Rouge, LA 

Jerry Pinkney 

Croton-on-Hudson, NY 

Frank Price 

Film Industry Executive 
New York, NY 

Gerard Schwarz 

Symphony Orchestra 

Seattle, WA 

Terry Teachout 

New York, NY 

Dr. Karen Lias Wolff 

Music Educator 
Ann Arbor, MI 

Ex Officio Members 
United States Congress 

The appointment of the six 
ex officio Congressional 
members is pending until 
the 110th Congress 
convenes in 2007. 

National Medal of Arts Recipients 


William Bolcom, composer 

Cyd Charisse, dancer 

Roy R. DeCarava, photographer 

Interlochen Center for the Arts, 

school of fine arts 

Erich Kunzel, conductor 

Preservation Hall Jazz Band, jazz 

Gregory Rabassa, literary translator 

Viktor Schreckengost, industrial designer, 

Dr. Ralph Stanley, bluegrass musician 

Wilhelrnina Holladay, arts patron 


Louis Auchincloss, author 

James DePreist, conductor 

Paquito D'Rivera, jazz musician, 
composer, writer 

Robert Duvall, actor 

Ollie Johnston, film animator and artist 

Wynton Marsalis, trumpeter, composer, 
Jazz at Lincoln Center artistic director 

Dolly Parton, singer, songwriter 

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 

school of fine arts, museum 

Tina Ramirez, choreographer, 
Ballet Hispanico artistic director 

Leonard Garment, arts patron 
and advocate 

President George W. Bush and Mrs. Laura Bush with 
2006 Medalist Gregory Rabassa in the Oval Office. 
White House photo by Paul Morse 



Ray Bradbury, author 

Carlisle Floyd, opera composer 

Frederick Hart, sculptor 

Anthony Hecht, poet 

John Ruthven, wildlife artist 

Vincent Scullv, architectural historian 
and educator 

Twyla Tharp, contemporary dance 

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, 

philanthropic foundation 


Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation, modern 
dance company and school 

Rudolfo Anaya, writer 

Johnny Cash, singer, songwriter 

Kirk Douglas, actor, producer 

Helen Frankenthaler, painter 

Judith Jamison, artistic director, 
choreographer, dancer 

Yo-Yo Ma, cellist 

Mike Nichols, director, producer 


Austin City Limits, PBS television 

Beverly Cleary, writer 

Rafe Esquith, arts educator 

Suzanne Farrell, dancer, choreographer, 
company director, educator 

Buddy Guy, blues musician 

Ron Howard, actor, director, writer, 

Mormon Tabernacle Choir, choral group 

Leonard Slatkin, symphony orchestra 

George Strait, countrv singer, songwriter 

Tommy Tune, dancer, actor, 
choreographer, director 


Florence Knoll Bassett, architect 

Trisha Brown, artistic director, 
choreographer, dancer 

Philippe de Montebello, museum 

Uta Hagen, actress, drama teacher 

Lawrence Halprin, architect 

Al Hirschfeld, artist, illustrator 

George Jones, country music composer, 

Ming Cho Lee, theater designer 

William "Smokey" Robinson, songwriter, 


Maya Angelou, poet, writer 

Eddy Arnold, countrv singer 

Mikhail Baryshnikov, dancer, director 

Benny Carter, jazz musician 

Chuck Close, painter 

Horton Foote, plavwright, screenwriter 

National Public Radio, Cultural 
Programming Division, broadcaster 

Claes Oldenburg, sculptor 

Itzhak Perlman, violinist 

Harold Prince, theater director, producer 

Barbra Streisand, entertainer, filmmaker 

Lewis Manilow, arts patron 


Aretha Franklin, singer 

Michael Graves, architect, designer 

Odetta, singer, music historian 

The Juilliard School, performing 
arts school 

Norman Lear, producer, writer, 
director, advocate 

Rosetta LeNoire, actress, producer 

Harvey Lichtenstein, arts administrator 

Lydia Mendoza, singer 

George Segal, sculptor 

Maria Tallchief, ballerina 

Irene Diamond, arts patron 

President William 
J. Clinton and First 
Lady Hillary Rodham- 
Clinton with 1996 
Medalist Edward Albee. 

White House photo by 
Sharon Farmer 


Jacques d'Amboise, dancer, choreographer, 

Antoine "Fats" Domino, rock h' roll 
pianist, singer 

Ramblin' Jack Elliott, folk singer, 

Frank Gehry, architect 

Barbara Handman, arts advocate 

Agnes Martin, visual artist 

Gregory Peck, actor, producer 

Roberta Peters, opera singer 

Philip Roth, writer 

Steppenwolf Theatre Company, 

arts organization 

Gwen Verdon, actress, dancer 

Sara Lee Corporation, corporate 
arts patron 


Louise Bourgeois, sculptor 

Betty Carter, jazz vocalist 

Daniel Urban Kiley, landscape architect 

Angela Lansbury, actor 

James Levine, opera conductor, pianist 
Tito Puente, Latin percussionist, musician 
Jason Robards, actor 
Edward Villella, dancer, choreographer 
Doc Watson, bluegrass guitarist, vocalist 
MacDowell Colony, artist colony 
Agnes Gund, arts patron 


Edward Albee, playwright 

Sarah Caldwell, opera conductor 

Harry Callahan, photographer 

Zelda Fichandler, theater director, founder 

Eduardo "Lalo" Guerrero, composer, 


Lionel Hampton, musician, bandleader 

Bella Lewitzky, dancer, choreographer, 

Robert Redford, actor, director, producer 

Maurice Sendak, writer, illustrator, 

Stephen Sondheim, composer, lyricist 

Boys Choir of Harlem, performing arts 
youth group 

Vera List, arts patron 


Licia Albanese, opera singer 

Gwendolyn Brooks, poet 

Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, actors 

David Diamond, composer 

James Ingo Freed, architect 

Bob Hope, entertainer 

Roy Lichtenstein, painter, sculptor 

Arthur Mitchell, dancer, choreographer 

William S. Monroe, bluegrass musician 

Urban Gateways, arts education 

B. Gerald and Iris Cantor, arts patrons 


Harry Belafonte, singer, actor 

Dave Brubeck, pianist, bandleader, 

Celia Cruz, singer 

Dorothy DeLay, violin teacher 

Julie Harris, actress 

Erick Hawkins, dance choreographer 

Gene Kelly, dancer, singer, actor 

Pete Seeger, composer, lyricist, vocalist, 
banjo player 

Wayne Thiebaud, artist, teacher 

Richard Wilbur, poet, teacher, critic, 
literary translator 

Young Audiences, arts presenter 

Catherine Filene Shouse, arts patron 


Cabell "Cab" Calloway, singer, bandleader 
Ray Charles, singer, musician 
Bess Lomax Hawes, folklorist 
Stanley Kunitz, poet, educator 
Robert Merrill, baritone 
Arthur Miller, playwright 
Robert Rauschenberg, artist 
Lloyd Richards, theatrical director 
William Styron, writer 

Paul Taylor, dancer, choreographer 

Billy Wilder, movie director, writer, 

Walter and Leonore Annenberg, arts 


Marilyn Home, opera singer 

James Earl Jones, actor 

Allan Houser, sculptor 

Minnie Pearl, Grand Ole Opry performer 

Robert Saudek, television producer, 
Museum of Broadcasting founding director 

Earl Scruggs, banjo player 

Robert Shaw, orchestra conductor, choral 

Billy Taylor, jazz pianist 

Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown, 


Robert Wise, film producer, director 
AT&T, corporate arts patron 

Lila Wallace- Reader s Digest Fund, 

foundation arts patron 


Maurice Abravanel, music director, 

Roy AcufF, country singer, bandleader 

Pietro Belluschi, architect 

J. Carter Brown, museum director 

Charles "Honi" Coles, tap dancer 

John O. Crosby, opera director, conductor, 

Richard Diebenkorn, painter 

Kitty Carlisle Hart, actress, singer, arts 
administrator, dancer 

Pearl Primus, choreographer, 

Isaac Stern, violinist 

R. Philip Hanes, Jr., arts patron 

Texaco Inc., corporate arts patron 

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George Francis Abbott, actor, playwright, 
producer, director 

Hume Cronyn, actor, director 

Jessica Tandy, actress 

Merce Cunningham, choreographer, dance 
company director 

Jasper Johns, painter, sculptor 

Jacob Lawrence, painter 

Riley "B.B." King, blues musician, singer 

Ian McHarg, landscape architect 

Beverly Sills, opera singer, director 

David Lloyd Kreeger, arts patron 

Harris & Carroll Sterling Masterson, arts 

Southeastern Bell Corporation, corporate 
arts patron 


Leopold Adler, preservationist, civic leader 

Katherine Dunham, dancer, 

Alfred Eisenstaedt, photographer 

Martin Friedman, museum director 

John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie, jazz 

Walker Kirtland Hancock, sculptor 

Vladimir Horowitz, pianist 

Czelaw Milosz, writer 

Robert Motherwell, painter 

John Updike, writer 

Dayton Hudson Corporation, corporate 
arts patron 

Leigh Gerdine, arts patron 


Saul Bellow, writer 

Sydney J. Freedberg, art historian, curator 

Helen Hayes, actress 

Gordon Parks, photographer, film director 

I.M. Pei, architect 

Jerome Robbins, dancer, choreographer 

Rudolf Serkin, pianist 

Roger L. Stevens, arts administrator 

Virgil Thomson, composer, music critic 

(Mrs. Vincent) Brooke Astor, arts patron 

Francis Goelet, music patron 

Obert C. Tanner, arts patron 


Romare Bearden, painter 

Ella Fitzgerald, singer 

Howard Nemerov, writer, scholar 

Alwin Nikolais, dancer, choreographer 

Isamu Noguchi, sculptor 

William Schuman, composer 

Robert Perm Warren, writer, poet 

J. W. Fisher, arts patron 

Dr. Armand Hammer, arts patron 

Mr. and Mrs. Sydney Lewis, arts patrons 

President George H. 
W. Bush and First Lady 
Barbara Bush with 1990 
Medalist Jacob Lawrence. 

Photo courtesy of the George 
Bush Presidential Library 



Marian Anderson, opera singer 

Frank Capra, film director 

Aaron Copland, composer 

Willem de Kooning, painter 

Agnes de Mille, choreographer 

Eva Le Gallienne, actress, author 

Alan Lomax, folklorist, scholar 

Lewis Mumford, philosopher, literary critic 

Eudora Welty, writer 

Dominique de Menil, arts patron 

Exxon Corporation, corporate arts patron 

Seymour H. Knox, arts patron 

Elliott Carter, Jr., composer 

Ralph Ellison, writer 

Jose Ferrer, actor 

Martha Graham, dancer, choreographer 

Louise Nevelson, sculptress 

Georgia O'Keeffe, painter 

Leontyne Price, soprano 

Dorothy Bufrum Chandler, arts patron 

Hallmark Cards, Inc., corporate arts 

Lincoln Kirstein, arts patron 

Paul Mellon, arts patron 

Alice TuUy, arts patron 

NOTE: Recipients are listed alphabetically, artists first and 
then arts patrons. 

President Ronald Reagan with 1987 Medalist Howard Nemerov. 
White House photo by Mary Anne Fackelman-Miner 

National Medal of Arts recipient Yo-Yo Ma performing 
with Dr. Condoleezza Rice at the 2001 Medals ceremony. 

Photo by Neshan Naltchayan 

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1100 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. 

Washington, D.C. 20506-0001