National Medal of Arts at the White House

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Ray Bradbury with President and Laura Bush

The President and Mrs. Laura Bush with Ray Bradbury. Photo: Susan Sterner

The White House was the setting for an unforgettable reception honoring seven legendary American artists and one foundation with the National Medal of Arts. "These eight medalists have significantly enriched the cultural life of our nation through their creativity, teaching, and beneficent work," Dana Gioia, Chairman of the NEA, remarked at the November 17th celebration. The National Medal of Arts, the nation's highest honor for artistic excellence, was presented to each recipient by the President and Mrs. Laura Bush.

The 2004 National Medal of Arts Recipients

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, philanthropic foundation - New York, NY
Ray Bradbury, author - Los Angeles, CA
Carlisle Floyd, opera composer - Houston, TX
Frederick Hart, sculptor - Atlanta, GA
Anthony Hecht, poet - Washington, DC
John Ruthven, wildlife artist - Georgetown, OH
Vincent Scully, architectural historian and educator - New Haven, CT
Twyla Tharp, choreographer, artistic director, dancer - New York, NY

The National Medal of Arts, established by Congress in 1984, is awarded by the President to those who have made extraordinary contributions to the creation, growth, and support of the arts in the United States. Each year, the Endowment seeks nominations from individuals and organizations across the country.

The National Council on the Arts, the Endowment’s Presidentially-appointed and Senate-confirmed advisory body, reviews the nominations and provides recommendations to the President, who selects the recipients. The National Endowment for the Arts gratefully acknowledges The President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities for its support.

John Ruthven

John Ruthven

Twyla Tharp

Twyla Tharp

Anne Tatlock of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Anne Tatlock of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Photos: Susan Sterner