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National Endowment for the Arts Accepts Nominations for 2014 National Medal of Arts

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George Lucas receives medal from President Obama

2012 National Medal of Arts recipient George Lucas receives his medal from President Obama at the White House ceremony.

Photo by Ralph Alswang

Washington, DC -- Nominations are now being accepted for the 2014 National Medal of Arts, the highest award given to artists, arts organizations, and arts patrons in the United States. The American public may nominate artists and arts patrons for this award through the National Endowment for the Arts' website. Nominations are only accepted online. The deadline is March 14, 2014. The National Medal of Arts are awarded annually by the President with the NEA managing the nomination process.

At the National Medal of Arts ceremony on July 9, 2013, President Obama said, " Because the arts and the humanities aren’t just a source of entertainment, they challenge us to think and to question and to discover, to seek that inward significance -- and that helps us grow and to change and to reach new heights, and to understand each other at a time when the world is constantly crying for the capacity to bridge that gap and speak to people who aren't like us."

Since the inception of the National Medal of Arts in 1984 under President Ronald Reagan, 302 individuals have been honored for their creativity, inspiration, and hard work. These exceptional individuals have significantly enriched the cultural life of our nation and include writers such as Rita Dove and Ernest Gaines; visual artists such as Georgia O’Keeffe and Ellsworth Kelly; actors such as Meryl Streep and Al Pacino; musicians such as Van Cliburn and Rene Fleming; dancers such as Twyla Tharp and Joan Myers Brown; as well as architects, designers, arts educators, directors, and composers. Arts organizations such as Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival have been recognized as have arts patrons including Emily Rauh Pulitzer and Hon. Joseph P. Riley, Jr., mayor of Charleston.

Nominees for a National Medal of Arts must be U.S. citizens with a distinguished professional career that merits receiving the U.S. government’s highest award in the arts. Competitive nominees will be familiar to reviewers so the purpose of the nomination is to remind reviewers that a nominee should be considered. Posthumous nominations are not accepted and all nominations must be made online.

You can learn more about some of the past recipients of the National Medal of Arts on the NEA website. Our podcast library includes interviews with and about 20 National Medal of Arts recipients, such as Olivia de Havilland, Tony Kushner, Rita Moreno, and Pete Seeger. In addition, visit the NEA's Art Works Blog for an interview with Medal of Arts recipient Mark di Suvero.

The White House expects to announce the recipients of the 2013 National Medal of Arts later this year. For further information on the National Medal of Arts, please contact the NEA's Office of the Chief of Staff at 202-682-5434.