24 NEA National Medal of Arts and NEH National Humanities Medals will be awarded to artists from our country in a special ceremony on September 22, 2016. NEA and NEH “serve different constituents”. Right. Anyhow, celebrating 24 exciting nominees rather than 12 is great! The event will be live streamed at www.whitehouse.gov/live. Both agencies are celebrating their 50th anniversary and request and receive nearly identical budgets, ie. 146 million FY2015.
Two days after the medal ceremony, the newest Smithsonian museum, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, will open and I’m told it’s a hot ticket.
NEH National Medal (awarding since 1996) recipients
Rudolfo Anaya (author), Jose Andres (chef), Ron Chernow (author), Louise Gluck (poet), Terry Gross (radio host), Wynton Marsalis (composer/musician- he received an NEA one in 2005), James McBride (author), Louis Menand (author), Elaine Pagels (historian), Prison University Project (San Quentin), Abraham Verghese (Physician/author), Isabel Wilkerson (journalist)
There are past NEH recipients with Massachusetts ties. A direct Gloucester match includes Hilton Kramer (2004 NEH). I bet Israel Horovitz and Deborah Cramer will be announced one year soon! Louis Menand to be honored next week wrote about TS Eliot. Prior years there are Gloucester connections like Monuments Men Foundation (NEH 2007/ Walker Hancock.) A wider North Shore net pulls out big names like John Updike/Ipswich (NEH 2003). From the NEH press release: “Since 1996, when the first National Humanities Medal was given, 175 individuals have been honored, inclusive of this year’s recipients. Thirteen organizations have also received medals. A complete list of previous honorees is available at this link: http://www.neh.gov/about/awards/national-humanities-medals”
Rudolfo Anaya’s novel Bless Me, Ultima, is a part of the NEA Big Read, grants awarded mostly for one town events with a book that’s pre-selected. Our local Cape Ann Reads effort will target 4 communities and as Deborah French, Director TOHP Burnham Library comments, “ WE will create one book to be read by four communities!”
NEA National Medal (awarding since 1984) recipients
Mel Brooks (cinema/broadway/tv), Sandra Cisneros (author), Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, Morgan Freeman (actor), Phillip Glass (composer), Berry Gordy (music producer/Motown), Santiago Jimenez Jr (musician), Moises Kaufman (theater), Ralph Lemon (dance), Audra McDonald (singer/actor), Luis Valdez (playwright/film/tv), and Jack Whitten (painter)
Any U.S. citizen or group who, in the President’s judgment, “…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.” [U.S.C. Sec. 955b (b) (1)] Have you submitted a nomination? You can- here’s how. And here’s a link to a list of the prior NEA National Medal recipients.