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Congratulations to 2011 National Medal of Arts Honorees. Nominate now for 2012!

Interested in nominating an individual or organization for next year’s Medal of Arts Honors? The nomination deadline for 2012 is March 31st. The National Council for the Arts will review all nominations and provide recommendations to the President who selects the recipients.

Monday, February 13, winners of the National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal for 2011 convened in the East Room of the White House with President and First Lady Obama. Since 1984, the National Medal of the Arts has been awarded to American citizens “based on their contributions to the creation, growth, and support of the arts in the United States.”

Highlights from President Obama’s speech:

“Michelle and I love this event.  This is something we look forward to every single year, because it’s a moment when America has a chance to pay tribute to extraordinary men and women who have excelled in the arts and the humanities, and who, along the way, have left an indelible mark on American culture.”

“With us are actors and poets, authors, singers, philosophers, sculptors, curators, musicians, and historians.  We even have an economist, which we don’t always get on stage…But what connects every one of you is that you dwell in possibilities.  You create new possibilities for all of us.”

“The true power of the arts and the humanities is that you speak to everyone.  There is not one of us here who hasn’t had their beliefs challenged by a writer’s eloquence; or their knowledge deepened by a historian’s insights; or their sagging spirits lifted by a singer’s voice.  Those are some of the most endearing and memorable moments in our lives.”

“So as we honor the icons of today, we also have to champion the icons of tomorrow.  They need our support; we need them to succeed.  We need them to succeed as much as we need engineers and scientists.  We also need artists and scholars.  We need them to take the mantle from you; to do their part to disrupt our views and to challenge our presumptions, and most of all to stir in us a need to be our better selves.”

“The arts and the humanities do not just reflect America.  They shape America.  And as long as I am President, I look forward to making sure they are a priority for this country.”

Nearly 300 patrons and artists in the fields of visual, performing, and literary arts have been honored with this award over the past 26 years. This year 14 individuals and 2 organizations were honored such as actor Al Pacino, Poet Laureate Rita Dove, painter Will Barnet, writer Andrew Delbanco and the United Service Organizations. The Arts Action Fund congratulates all Honorees!


President Obama and Al Pacino

President Obama and Al Pacino

President Obama and Rita Dove

President Obama and Rita Dove



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