List of recipients of the National Medal of Arts

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 given to artists and arts patrons by the United States government. Nominations are submitted to the National Council on the Arts, the advisory committee of the National Endowment for the Arts, who then submits its recommendations to the White House for the President of the United States to award.[1] The medal was designed for the NEA by sculptor Robert Graham.

National Medal of Arts
Awarded by President of the United States & National Endowment for the Arts
CountryUnited States
EligibilityCivilians
Awarded forOutstanding contributions to the excellence, growth, support, and availability of the Arts in the United States
Statistics
Established1984 by the United States Congress
First awarded1985

Laureates

In 1983, prior to the official establishment of the National Medal of Arts, through the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities, President Ronald Reagan awarded a medal to artists and arts patrons.[2]

NameArea of Achievement
Pinchas ZukermanArtist
Frederica von StadeArtist
Czesław MiłoszArtist
Maya LinArtist
Frank StellaArtist
Philip JohnsonArtist
Luis ValdezArtist
The Texaco Philanthropic FoundationPatron
James MichenerPatron
Philip MorrisPatron
The Cleveland FoundationPatron
Elma LewisPatron
The Dayton Hudson FoundationPatron

Recipients of the National Medal of Arts

The National Medal of Arts was first awarded in 1985. It was most recently awarded in 2019.

YearNameArea of Achievement
1985Elliott Carter Jr.composer
Ralph Ellisonwriter
Jose Ferreractor
Martha Grahamdancer, choreographer
Louise Nevelsonsculptor
Georgia O'Keeffepainter
Leontyne Pricesoprano
Dorothy Buffum Chandlerarts patron
Lincoln Kirsteinarts patron
Paul Mellonarts patron
Alice Tullyarts patron
Hallmark Cards, Inc.corporate arts patron
1986Marian Andersoncontralto singer
Frank Caprafilm director
Aaron Coplandcomposer
Willem de Kooningpainter
Agnes de Millechoreographer
Eva Le Gallienneactress, director, author
Alan Lomaxfolklorist, scholar
Lewis Mumfordphilosopher, literary critic
Eudora Weltywriter
Dominique de Menilarts patron
Exxon Corporationcorporate arts patron
Seymour H. Knox IIarts patron
1987Romare Beardenpainter
Ella Fitzgeraldsinger
Howard Nemerovwriter, scholar
Alwin Nikolaisdancer, choreographer
Isamu Noguchisculptor
William Schumancomposer
Robert Penn Warrenwriter, poet
J. W. Fisherarts patron
Armand Hammerarts patron
Sydney Lewisarts patron
1988Saul Bellowwriter
Helen Hayesactress
Gordon Parksphotographer, film director
I.M. Peiarchitect
Jerome Robbinsdancer, choreographer
Rudolf Serkinpianist
Virgil Thomsoncomposer, music critic
Sydney J. Freedbergart historian, curator
Roger L. Stevensarts administrator
Brooke Astorarts patron
Francis Goeletmusic patron
Obert Clark Tannerarts patron
1989Leopold Adlerpreservationist, civic leader
Katherine Dunhamdancer, choreographer
Alfred Eisenstaedtphotographer
Martin Friedmanmuseum director
Leigh Gerdinearts patron, civic leader
John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespiejazz trumpeter
Walker Hancocksculptor
Vladimir Horowitzpianist (posthumous)
Czesław Miłoszwriter
Robert Motherwellpainter
John Updikewriter
Dayton Hudson Corporationcorporate arts patron
1990George Abbottproducer
Hume Cronynactor
Jessica Tandyactress
Merce Cunninghamchoreographer & dance company director
Jasper Johnspainter & sculptor
Jacob Lawrencepainter
Riley "B.B." Kingblues musician
David Lloyd Kreegerarts patron
Harris & Carroll Sterling Mastersonarts patrons
Ian McHarglandscape architect
Beverly Sillsopera singer
Southeastern Bell Corporationcorporate arts patron
1991Maurice Abravanelmusic director & conductor
Roy Acuffcountry singer
Pietro Belluschiarchitect
J. Carter Brownmuseum director
Charles "Honi" Colestap dancer
John O. Crosbyopera director, conductor, administrator
Richard Diebenkornpainter
R. Philip Hanesarts patron
Kitty Carlisle Hartactress, singer & arts administrator
Pearl Primuschoreographer & anthropologist
Isaac Sternviolinist
Texaco Inc.corporate arts patron
1992Marilyn Horneopera singer
James Earl Jonesactor
Allan Housersculptor
Minnie Pearlcomedian
Robert Saudektelevision producer, Museum of Broadcasting founding director
Earl Scruggsbanjo player
Robert Shaworchestra conductor, choral director
Billy Taylorjazz pianist
Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brownarchitects
Robert Wisedirector
AT&T Inc.corporate arts patron
Lila Wallace (Reader's Digest Fund)foundation arts patron
1993Walter and Leonore Annenbergarts patrons
Cabell "Cab" Callowaysinger & bandleader
Ray Charlessinger & musician
Bess Lomax Hawesfolklorist
Stanley Kunitzpoet & educator
Robert Merrillbaritone
Arthur Millerplaywright
Robert Rauschenbergartist
Lloyd Richardstheatrical director
William Styronwriter
Paul Taylordancer & choreographer
Billy Wilderdirector, writer & producer
1994Harry Belafontesinger & actor
Dave Brubeckjazz musician
Celia Cruzsinger
Dorothy DeLayviolin teacher
Julie Harrisactress
Erick Hawkinschoreographer
Gene Kellyactor & dancer
Pete Seegercomposer, lyricist, vocalist, banjo player
Catherine Filene Shousearts patron
Wayne Thiebaudartist, teacher
Richard Wilburpoet, teacher, critic, literary translator
Young Audiencesarts presenter
1995Licia Albaneseopera singer
Gwendolyn Brookspoet
B. Gerald and Iris Cantorarts patrons
Ossie Davis and Ruby Deeactors
David Diamondcomposer
James Ingo Freedarchitect
Bob Hopeentertainer
Roy Lichtensteinpainter, sculptor
Arthur Mitchelldancer, choreographer
Bill Monroebluegrass musician
Urban Gatewaysarts education organization
1996Edward Albeeplaywright
Sarah Caldwellopera conductor
Harry Callahanphotographer
Zelda Fichandlertheater director, producer, educator
Eduardo "Lalo" Guerrerocomposer, musician
Lionel Hamptonmusician, bandleader
Bella Lewitzkydancer, choreographer, teacher
Vera Listarts patron
Robert Redfordactor, director, producer
Maurice Sendakwriter, illustrator, designer
Stephen Sondheimcomposer, lyricist
Boys Choir of Harlemperforming arts youth group
1997Louise Bourgeoissculptor
Betty Carterjazz vocalist
Agnes Gundarts patron
Daniel Urban Kileylandscape architect
Angela Lansburyactress
James Levineopera conductor, pianist
Tito PuenteLatin percussionist, musician
Jason Robardsactor
Edward Villelladancer, choreographer
Doc Watsonbluegrass guitarist, vocalist
MacDowell Colonyartist colony
1998Jacques d'Amboisedancer, choreographer, educator
Antoine "Fats" Dominorock 'n' roll pianist, singer
Ramblin' Jack Elliottfolk singer, songwriter
Frank Gehryarchitect
Barbara Handmanarts advocate
Agnes Martinvisual artist
Gregory Peckactor, producer
Roberta Petersopera singer
Philip Rothwriter
Sara Lee Corporationcorporate arts patron
Steppenwolf Theatre Companyarts organization
Gwen Verdonactress, dancer
1999Irene Diamondarts patron
Aretha Franklinsinger
Michael Gravesarchitect, designer
Odettasinger, music historian
The Juilliard Schoolperforming arts school
Norman Learproducer, writer, director, advocate
Rosetta LeNoireactress, producer
Harvey Lichtensteinarts administrator
Lydia Mendozasinger
George Segalsculptor
Maria Tallchiefballerina
2000Maya Angeloupoet, writer
Eddy Arnoldcountry singer
Mikhail Baryshnikovdancer & director
Benny Carterjazz musician
Chuck Closepainter
Horton Footeplaywright, screenwriter
Lewis Manilowarts patron
National Public Radio, cultural programming divisionbroadcaster
Claes Oldenburgsculptor
Itzhak Perlmanviolinist
Harold Princetheater director, producer
Barbra Streisandactress, singer & director
2001Alvin Ailey Dance Foundationmodern dance company and school
Rudolfo Anayawriter
Johnny Cashsinger & songwriter
Kirk Douglasactor
Helen Frankenthalerpainter
Judith Jamisonartistic director, choreographer, dancer
Yo-Yo Macellist
Mike Nicholsdirector, producer
2002Florence Knoll Bassettarchitect
Trisha Brownartistic director, choreographer, dancer
Philippe de Montebellomuseum director
Uta Hagenactress, drama teacher
Lawrence Halprinlandscape architect
Al Hirschfeldartist, illustrator
George Jonessinger
Ming Cho Leetheater designer
William "Smokey" Robinsonsongwriter, musician
2003Austin City LimitsPBS television program
Beverly Clearywriter
Rafe Esquitharts educator
Suzanne Farrelldancer, choreographer, company director, educator
Buddy Guyblues musician
Ron Howardactor, director & producer
Mormon Tabernacle Choirchoral group
Leonard Slatkinsymphony orchestra conductor
George Straitcountry singer, songwriter
Tommy Tunedancer, actor, choreographer, director
2004Andrew W. Mellon Foundationphilanthropic foundation
Ray Bradburyauthor
Carlisle Floydopera composer
Frederick Hartsculptor (posthumous)
Anthony Hechtpoet
John Ruthvenwildlife artist
Vincent Scullyarchitectural historian & educator
Twyla Tharpcontemporary dance choreographer
2005Louis Auchinclossauthor
James DePreistsymphony orchestra conductor
Paquito D'Riverajazz musician
Robert Duvallactor
Leonard Garmentarts advocate
Ollie Johnstonpioneering film animator & artist
Wynton Marsalisjazz musician & educator
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Artsarts education
Tina Ramirezdancer & choreographer
Dolly Partonsinger & songwriter
2006William Bolcomcomposer
Cyd Charisseactress & dancer
Roy DeCaravaphotographer
Wilhelmina Holladayarts patron
Interlochen Center for the Artssummer arts camp and winter arts focused boarding high school
Erich Kunzelconductor
Preservation Hall Jazz Bandjazz ensemble
Gregory Rabassaliterary translator
Viktor Schreckengostindustrial designer/sculptor
Ralph Stanleybluegrass musician
2007Morten Lauridsencomposer
N. Scott Momadayauthor
Craig Noeldirector
Roy Neubergerarts patron
Les Paulelectric guitar pioneer
Henry Z. Steinwayarts patron
George Tookerpainter
Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival (University of Idaho)music festival
Andrew Wyethpainter
2008Stan Leecomic book writer, editor
Richard M. Shermansongwriter
Robert B. Shermansongwriter
Olivia de Havillandactress
Hank Jonesjazz pianist
Jesús Morolessculptor
Ford's Theatre Societyhistoric theatre organization
Fisk Jubilee Singers, (Fisk University)African American choral group
José Limón Dance Foundationdance troupe
The Presser Foundationmusic philanthropy organization
2009Bob Dylansinger & songwriter
Clint Eastwoodactor & director
Milton Glasergraphic designer
Maya Linartist & architect
Rita Morenoactress
Jessye Normansoprano
Joseph P. Riley, Jr.mayor
Frank Stellaartist
Michael Tilson Thomasconductor
John Williamscomposer, conductor & pianist
Oberlin Conservatory of Music
School of American Ballet
2010Robert Brusteintheater director & producer
Van Cliburnclassical pianist
Mark di Suverosculptor
Donald Hallpoet
Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival
Quincy Jonescomposer & music producer
Harper Leenovelist
Sonny Rollinsjazz musician
Meryl Streepactress
James Taylorsinger & songwriter
2011Will Barnetartist
Rita Dovepoet
Al Pacinoactor
Emily Rauh Pulitzerarts patron
Martin Puryearsculptor
Mel Tillissinger & songwriter
United Service Organization (USO)provides programs and entertainment to the U.S. military and their families
André Wattsclassical pianist
2012Herb Alpertmusician
Lin Arisonarts education advocate
Joan Myers Browndancer, choreographer and artistic director
Renée Flemingopera singer
Ernest Gainesauthor & teacher
Ellsworth Kellyartist
Tony Kushnerplaywright
George Lucasfilm director
Elaine Mayactress & director
Laurie Olinlandscape architect
Allen Toussaintcomposer, producer and performer
Washington Performing Arts Societyarts presenter
2013Julia Alvareznovelist, poet & essayist
Brooklyn Academy of Musicpresenter
Joan Harrisarts patron
Bill T. Jonesdancer & choreographer
John Kandermusical theater composer
Jeffrey Katzenbergdirector and CEO of DreamWorks
Maxine Hong Kingstonwriter
Albert Mayslesdocumentary filmmaker
Linda Ronstadtmusician
Billie Tsien & Tod Williamsarchitects
James Turrellvisual artist
2014John Baldessarivisual artist
Ping Chongtheater director, choreographer, and video and installation artist
Míriam Colónactress
The Doris Duke Charitable Foundationsupporting creative expression across the country
Sally Fieldactress and filmmaker
Ann Hamiltonvisual artist
Stephen Kingauthor
Meredith Monkcomposer, singer, and performer
George Shirleytenor
University Musical Societypresenting the performing arts to communities in Michigan
Tobias Wolffauthor and educator
2015Mel Brooksactor, comedian, writer
Sandra Cisnerosauthor
Eugene O'Neill Theater Centertheater
Morgan Freemanactor
Philip Glasscomposer
Berry Gordyrecord producer, songwriter
Santiago Jiménez, Jr.musician
Moises Kaufmantheater
Ralph Lemondance
Audra McDonaldactor
Luis Valdezplaywright, actor, director
Jack Whittenpainter
2019[3] Allison Krauss singer
Sharon Percy Rockefeller arts supporter
The Musicians of the United States Military military musicians
Jon Voight actor

Declined honors

In 1989, composer and conductor, Leonard Bernstein refused his award, allegedly due to how a federal grant to an art show on AIDS had been revoked.[4]

In 1992, musical theatre composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim refused his award, on account of believing that the NEA had "become a victim of its own and others' political infighting and is rapidly being transformed into a conduit and a symbol of censorship and repression rather than encouragement and support."[5]

In 1997, poet Adrienne Rich refused her award as a protest against “inconsistencies” between art and “the cynical politics” of the Clinton administration.[6]

See also

References

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