July 16, 2013

Herb Alpert and Tony Kushner Honored with National Medal of Arts

In a special ceremony held at the White House on July 10th, 2013, President Barack Obama awarded national medals to a select group for their contributions to the arts and humanities by creating works that will last for American life. Among the 23 recipients that included singers, dancers, poets, producers, playwrights, scholars and others, were ASCAP members Herb Alpert and Tony Kushner.

The National Medal of Arts is the highest award given to artists and arts patrons by the United States Government. The National Medal of Arts is awarded by the President of the United States to individuals or groups who "...are deserving of special recognition by reason of their outstanding contributions to the excellence, growth, support and availability of the arts in the United States."

During the past 27 years, nearly 300 extraordinary patrons and artists in the fields of visual, performing and literary arts have been honored. With this medal, the President recognizes the wealth and depth of creative expression of America's artists. Hundreds of nominations are submitted by citizens across the country for consideration by the National Council on the Arts every year.

This lifetime achievement award recognizes the extraordinary accomplishments of individuals engaged in the creation and production of the arts in the United States. The arts encompass arts education, crafts, dance, drawing, film, graphic/product design, interior design, landscape architecture, literature, classical and popular music, painting, patrons/advocates, photography, presenting, printmaking, sculpture, theater and urban design.

During the award ceremony, Obama praised the medal recipients for using their talents "to open up minds and nourish souls, and help us understand what it means to be human, and what it means to be an American."

"We celebrate people like our honorees here today not just because of their talent, but because they create something new. They create a new space and that becomes a lasting contribution to American life," Obama said.

Herb Alpert was recognized for his varied contributions to music and the fine arts. The musician behind the Tijuana Brass phenomenon and co-founder of A&M Records, which launched several storied careers, Alpert is also a philanthropist who shares the power of arts education with young people across the country.

Kushner is recognized for his contributions to American theater and film. Whether for the stage or the silver screen, his scripts have moved audiences worldwide, marrying humor to fury, history to fantasy, and the philosophical to the personal.

For more information on the National Endowment for the Arts, visit www.nea.gov.