NEA Arts Magazine

Craig Noel receives National Medal of Arts

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R. Craig Noel and President Bush

The 2007 National Medal of Arts was awarded to theater director R. Craig Noel and presented by President Bush on November 15, 2007, in an East Room ceremony. Photo by Michael Stewart.

R. Craig Noel, founding director of San Diego's Old Globe Theatre, received the National Medal of Arts from President George W. Bush at a White House ceremony on November 15. The National Medal of Arts, awarded by the President and managed by the NEA, is the nation's highest award for artists and arts patrons. Mark Hofflund, National Council on the Arts member and Idaho Shakespeare Festival managing director, offered these words of appreciation for Noel's leadership in the theater field: "Craig Noel is ineffably us. Delighting in community. Devoted to colleagues. Dedicated to inspiring the young. Finding joy in work, laughter in hardship, care and compassion at every juncture. That he checked hats near the replica of an Elizabethan playhouse, went from directing in this Old Globe to fighting in the Pacific, to running Tokyo's largest theater, to bringing Marilyn Monroe to the screen, to building an iconic American theater in San Diego -- these are but pieces in the art of his life. Craig Noel's masterworks are among all who honor this brilliant and humble man, and 'to greatness dedicate themselves.'"