National Medal of Arts

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National Medal of Arts
Awarded for Outstanding contributions in Arts
Location Washington, D.C.
Country  United States
Presented by National Endowment for the Arts
First awarded 1984
Official website
2005 National Medal of Arts awardees

The National Medal of Arts is an award and title created by the United States Congress in 1984, for the purpose of honoring artists and patrons of the arts. A prestigious American honor, it is the highest honor specifically given for achievement in the arts conferred to an individual artist on behalf of the people. Honorees are selected by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and ceremoniously presented the award by the President of the United States. The medal was designed for the NEA by sculptor Robert Graham.


In 1983, prior to the official establishment of the Medal, the following artists and patrons received a medal from President Reagan, arranged by the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities:

The following list can be sorted individually by each column. Note that names are sorted by first, not by last, names.

Recipients of the National Medal of Arts[edit]

Year Name Achievement
1985 Elliott Carter, Jr. composer
1985 Ralph Ellison writer
1985 Jose Ferrer actor
1985 Martha Graham dancer, choreographer
1985 Louise Nevelson sculptor
1985 Georgia O'Keeffe painter
1985 Leontyne Price soprano
1985 Dorothy Buffum Chandler arts patron
1985 Lincoln Kirstein arts patron
1985 Paul Mellon arts patron
1985 Alice Tully arts patron
1985 Hallmark Cards, Inc. corporate arts patron
1986 Marian Anderson opera singer
1986 Frank Capra film director
1986 Aaron Copland composer
1986 Willem de Kooning painter
1986 Agnes de Mille choreographer
1986 Eva Le Gallienne actress, author
1986 Alan Lomax folklorist, scholar
1986 Lewis Mumford philosopher, literary critic
1986 Eudora Welty writer
1986 Dominique de Menil arts patron
1986 Exxon Corporation corporate arts patron
1986 Seymour H. Knox II arts patron
1987 Romare Bearden painter
1987 Ella Fitzgerald singer
1987 Howard Nemerov writer, scholar
1987 Alwin Nikolais dancer, choreographer
1987 Isamu Noguchi sculptor
1987 William Schuman composer
1987 Robert Penn Warren writer, poet
1987 J. W. Fisher arts patron
1987 Dr. Armand Hammer arts patron
1987 Mr. and Mrs. Sydney Lewis arts patrons
1988 Saul Bellow writer
1988 Helen Hayes actress
1988 Gordon Parks photographer, film director
1988 I.M. Pei architect
1988 Jerome Robbins dancer, choreographer
1988 Rudolf Serkin pianist
1988 Virgil Thomson composer, music critic
1988 Sydney J. Freedberg art historian, curator
1988 Roger L. Stevens arts administrator
1988 Brooke Astor arts patron
1988 Francis Goelet music patron
1988 Obert Clark Tanner arts patron
1989 Leopold Adler preservationist, civic leader
1989 Katherine Dunham dancer, choreographer
1989 Alfred Eisenstaedt photographer
1989 Martin Friedman museum director
1989 Leigh Gerdine arts patron, civic leader
1989 John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie jazz trumpeter
1989 Walker Hancock sculptor
1989 Vladimir Horowitz pianist (posthumous)
1989 Czesław Miłosz writer
1989 Robert Motherwell painter
1989 John Updike writer
1989 Dayton Hudson Corporation corporate arts patron
1990 George Abbott producer
1990 Hume Cronyn actor
1990 Jessica Tandy actress
1990 Merce Cunningham choreographer & dance company director
1990 Jasper Johns painter & sculptor
1990 Jacob Lawrence painter
1990 Riley "B.B." King blues musician
1990 David Lloyd Kreeger arts patron
1990 Harris & Carroll Sterling Masterson arts patrons
1990 Ian McHarg landscape architect
1990 Beverly Sills opera singer
1990 Southeastern Bell Corporation corporate arts patron
1991 Maurice Abravanel music director & conductor
1991 Roy Acuff country singer
1991 Pietro Belluschi architect
1991 J. Carter Brown museum director
1991 Charles "Honi" Coles tap dancer
1991 John O. Crosby opera director, conductor, administrator
1991 Richard Diebenkorn painter
1991 R. Philip Hanes, Jr. arts patron
1991 Kitty Carlisle Hart actress, singer & arts administrator
1991 Pearl Primus choreographer & anthropologist
1991 Isaac Stern violinist
1991 Texaco Inc. corporate arts patron
1992 Marilyn Horne opera singer
1992 James Earl Jones actor
1992 Allan Houser sculptor
1992 Minnie Pearl comedienne
1992 Robert Saudek television producer, Museum of Broadcasting founding director
1992 Earl Scruggs banjo player
1992 Robert Shaw orchestra conductor, choral director
1992 Billy Taylor jazz pianist
1992 Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown architects
1992 Robert Wise director
1992 AT&T Inc. corporate arts patron
1992 Lila Wallace (Reader's Digest Fund) foundation arts patron
1993 Walter and Leonore Annenberg arts patrons
1993 Cabell "Cab" Calloway singer & bandleader
1993 Ray Charles singer & musician
1993 Bess Lomax Hawes folklorist
1993 Stanley Kunitz poet & educator
1993 Robert Merrill baritone
1993 Arthur Miller playwright
1993 Robert Rauschenberg artist
1993 Lloyd Richards theatrical director
1993 William Styron writer
1993 Paul Taylor dancer & choreographer
1993 Billy Wilder director, writer & producer
1994 Harry Belafonte singer & actor
1994 Dave Brubeck jazz musician
1994 Celia Cruz singer
1994 Dorothy DeLay violin teacher
1994 Julie Harris actress
1994 Erick Hawkins choreographer
1994 Gene Kelly actor & dancer
1994 Pete Seeger composer, lyricist, vocalist, banjo player
1994 Catherine Filene Shouse arts patron
1994 Wayne Thiebaud artist, teacher
1994 Richard Wilbur poet, teacher, critic, literary translator
1994 Young Audiences arts presenter
1995 Licia Albanese opera singer
1995 Gwendolyn Brooks poet
1995 B. Gerald and Iris Cantor arts patrons
1995 Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee actors
1995 David Diamond composer
1995 James Ingo Freed architect
1995 Bob Hope entertainer
1995 Roy Lichtenstein painter, sculptor
1995 Arthur Mitchell dancer, choreographer
1995 Bill Monroe bluegrass musician
1995 Urban Gateways arts education organization
1996 Edward Albee playwright
1996 Sarah Caldwell opera conductor
1996 Harry Callahan photographer
1996 Zelda Fichandler theater director, producer, educator
1996 Eduardo "Lalo" Guerrero composer, musician
1996 Lionel Hampton musician, bandleader
1996 Bella Lewitzky dancer, choreographer, teacher
1996 Vera List arts patron
1996 Robert Redford actor, director, producer
1996 Maurice Sendak writer, illustrator, designer
1996 Stephen Sondheim composer, lyricist
1996 Boys Choir of Harlem performing arts youth group
1997 Louise Bourgeois sculptor
1997 Betty Carter jazz vocalist
1997 Agnes Gund arts patron
1997 Daniel Urban Kiley landscape architect
1997 Angela Lansbury actress
1997 James Levine opera conductor, pianist
1997 Tito Puente Latin percussionist, musician
1997 Jason Robards actor
1997 Edward Villella dancer, choreographer
1997 Doc Watson bluegrass guitarist, vocalist
1997 MacDowell Colony artist colony
1998 Jacques d'Amboise dancer, choreographer, educator
1998 Antoine "Fats" Domino rock 'n' roll pianist, singer
1998 Ramblin' Jack Elliott folk singer, songwriter
1998 Frank Gehry architect
1998 Barbara Handman arts advocate
1998 Agnes Martin visual artist
1998 Gregory Peck actor, producer
1998 Roberta Peters opera singer
1998 Philip Roth writer
1998 Sara Lee Corporation corporate arts patron
1998 Steppenwolf Theatre Company arts organization
1998 Gwen Verdon actress, dancer
1999 Irene Diamond arts patron
1999 Aretha Franklin singer
1999 Michael Graves architect, designer
1999 Odetta singer, music historian
1999 The Juilliard School performing arts school
1999 Norman Lear producer, writer, director, advocate
1999 Rosetta LeNoire actress, producer
1999 Harvey Lichtenstein arts administrator
1999 Lydia Mendoza singer
1999 George Segal sculptor
1999 Maria Tallchief ballerina
2000 Maya Angelou poet, writer
2000 Eddy Arnold country singer
2000 Mikhail Baryshnikov dancer & director
2000 Benny Carter jazz musician
2000 Chuck Close painter
2000 Horton Foote playwright, screenwriter
2000 Lewis Manilow arts patron
2000 National Public Radio, cultural programming division broadcaster
2000 Claes Oldenburg sculptor
2000 Itzhak Perlman violinist
2000 Harold Prince theater director, producer
2000 Barbra Streisand actress, singer & director
2001 Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation modern dance company and school
2001 Rudolfo Anaya writer
2001 Johnny Cash singer & songwriter
2001 Kirk Douglas actor
2001 Helen Frankenthaler painter
2001 Judith Jamison artistic director, choreographer, dancer
2001 Yo-Yo Ma cellist
2001 Mike Nichols director, producer
2002 Florence Knoll Bassett architect
2002 Trisha Brown artistic director, choreographer, dancer
2002 Philippe de Montebello museum director
2002 Uta Hagen actress, drama teacher
2002 Lawrence Halprin landscape architect
2002 Al Hirschfeld artist, illustrator
2002 George Jones singer
2002 Ming Cho Lee theater designer
2002 William "Smokey" Robinson songwriter, musician
2003 Austin City Limits PBS television program
2003 Beverly Cleary writer
2003 Rafe Esquith arts educator
2003 Suzanne Farrell dancer, choreographer, company director, educator
2003 Buddy Guy blues musician
2003 Ron Howard actor, director & producer
2003 Mormon Tabernacle Choir choral group
2003 Leonard Slatkin symphony orchestra conductor
2003 George Strait country singer, songwriter
2003 Tommy Tune dancer, actor, choreographer, director
2004 Andrew W. Mellon Foundation philanthropic foundation
2004 Ray Bradbury author
2004 Carlisle Floyd opera composer
2004 Frederick Hart sculptor
2004 Anthony Hecht poet
2004 John Ruthven wildlife artist
2004 Vincent Scully architectural historian & educator
2004 Twyla Tharp contemporary dance choreographer
2005 Louis Auchincloss author
2005 James DePreist symphony orchestra conductor
2005 Paquito D'Rivera jazz musician
2005 Robert Duvall actor
2005 Leonard Garment arts advocate
2005 Ollie Johnston pioneering film animator & artist
2005 Wynton Marsalis jazz musician & educator
2005 Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts arts education
2005 Tina Ramirez dancer & choreographer
2005 Dolly Parton singer & songwriter
2006 William Bolcom composer
2006 Cyd Charisse dancer
2006 Roy DeCarava photographer
2006 Wilhelmina Holladay arts patron
2006 Interlochen Center for the Arts summer arts camp and winter arts focused boarding high school
2006 Erich Kunzel conductor
2006 Preservation Hall Jazz Band jazz ensemble
2006 Gregory Rabassa literary translator
2006 Viktor Schreckengost industrial designer/sculptor
2006 Ralph Stanley bluegrass musician
2007 Morten Lauridsen composer
2007 N. Scott Momaday author
2007 Craig Noel director
2007 Roy Neuberger arts patron
2007 Les Paul electric guitar pioneer
2007 Henry Z. Steinway arts patron
2007 George Tooker painter
2007 Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival (University of Idaho) music festival
2007 Andrew Wyeth painter
2008 Stan Lee writer, editor, and creator of many comic books
2008 Richard M. Sherman songwriter
2008 Robert B. Sherman songwriter
2008 Olivia de Havilland actress
2008 Hank Jones jazz pianist
2008 Jesús Moroles sculptor
2008 Ford's Theatre Society historic theatre organization
2008 Fisk Jubilee Singers, (Fisk University) African American choral group
2008 José Limón Dance Foundation dance troupe
2008 The Presser Foundation music philanthropy organization
2009 Bob Dylan singer &songwriter
2009 Clint Eastwood actor & director
2009 Milton Glaser graphic designer
2009 Maya Lin artist & architect
2009 Rita Moreno actress
2009 Jessye Norman soprano
2009 Joseph P. Riley, Jr. mayor
2009 Frank Stella artist
2009 Michael Tilson Thomas conductor
2009 John Williams composer, conductor & pianist
2009 Oberlin Conservatory of Music
2009 School of American Ballet
2010 Robert Brustein theater director & producer
2010 Van Cliburn classical pianist
2010 Mark di Suvero sculptor
2010 Donald Hall poet
2010 Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival
2010 Quincy Jones composer & music producer
2010 Harper Lee novelist
2010 Sonny Rollins jazz musician
2010 Meryl Streep actress
2010 James Taylor singer & songwriter
2011 Will Barnet artist
2011 Rita Dove poet
2011 Al Pacino actor
2011 Emily Rauh Pulitzer arts patron
2011 Martin Puryear sculptor
2011 Mel Tillis singer & songwriter
2011 United Service Organization (USO) provides programs and entertainment to the United States military and their families
2011 André Watts classical pianist
2012 Herb Alpert musician
2012 Lin Arison arts education advocate
2012 Joan Myers Brown dancer, choreographer and artistic director
2012 Renée Fleming opera singer
2012 Ernest Gaines author & teacher
2012 Ellsworth Kelly artist
2012 Tony Kushner playwright
2012 George Lucas film director
2012 Elaine May actress & director
2012 Laurie Olin landscape architect
2012 Allen Toussaint composer, producer and performer
2012 Washington Performing Arts Society arts presenter
2013 Julia Alvarez novelist, poet, and essayist
2013 Brooklyn Academy of Music arts presenter
2013 Joan Harris arts patron
2013 Bill T. Jones dancer and choreographer
2013 John Kander musical theater composer
2013 Jeffrey Katzenberg director and CEO of DreamWorks
2013 Maxine Hong Kingston writer
2013 Albert Maysles documentary filmmaker
2013 Linda Ronstadt musician
2013 Tod Williams and Billie Tsien architects (received individual medals)
2013 James Turrell visual artist


In 1997, poet Adrienne Rich refused her award as a protest against “inconsistencies” between art and “the cynical politics” of the Clinton White House administration.[1]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]