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National Endowment for the Arts  
Lifetime Honors
  National Medal of Arts  

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, in his 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."

During the past 19 years, more than 200 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. Annually a vast number of nominations are submitted from citizens across the country for consideration by the National Council on the Arts. Nominations for the 2004 National Medal of Arts are received online from January 15 - April 2, 2004.

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 dance, design, literature (poetry and fiction), media arts (film, television and radio), music, theater, museums and visual arts (painting, sculpture, crafts, etc).


2003 Medalist Suzanne Farrell with NEA Chairman Dana Gioia.


President and Mrs. Bush with 2001 Medalist Kirk Douglas.