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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release January 2, 1997



President Clinton today named the winners of the 1996 National Medal of Arts and the Charles Frankel Prize in the Humanities. The President and First Lady will present the awards on January 9, 1997, at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C.

The Medal of Arts honors individuals and organizations for their contributions to arts and culture. It will be presented to 10 artists, an arts patron, and a selected arts organization. The Frankel Prize is a national award that each year goes to five Americans who have made outstanding contributions to the nation's cultural life by bringing the insights of the humanities to wide public audiences.

"The arts and humanities are essential to our growth and renewal as a people," President Clinton said. "Through these awards, we commemorate the contributions of distinguished artists and scholars whose work reflects the strength and diversity of America?s cultural heritage."

Named by President Clinton as 1996 National Medal of Arts recipients are:

Edward Albee, playwright

Sarah Caldwell, opera conductor

Harry Callahan, photographer

Zelda Fichandler, theater director

Eduardo "Lalo" Guerrero, composer, musician

Lionel Hampton, musician, bandleader

Bella Lewitzky, dancer, choreographer, teacher

Vera List, patron of the arts

Robert Redford, actor, director, producer

Maurice Sendak, author, illustrator, designer

Stephen J. Sondheim, composer, lyricist

Boys Choir of Harlem, arts organization

"As we honor those who have reached the highest level of achievement in the visual, literary and performing arts, we also honor the arts themselves -- which help us all understand and celebrate the richness and complexity of our lives," said Jane Alexander, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts.

The National Endowment for the Arts seeks nominations, and the agency?s National Council on the Arts recommends honorees, for the Medal of Arts. In 1984, Congress passed legislation authorizing the President "to award the National Medal of Arts to individuals and groups 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."

The Frankel Prize winners are:

Rita Dove, playwright, novelist, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, former poet laureate of the United States and long-time advocate of poetry programs for the public.

Doris Kearns Goodwin, scholar of the American presidency, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and commentator in television news programs and documentaries.

Daniel Kemmis, political philosopher, author, civic activist and director of the Center for the Rocky Mountain West at the University of Montana.

Arturo Madrid, scholar of Latino literature who as founding president of the Tomas Rivera Center at Trinity University helped develop the field of Latino studies in the U.S.

Bill Moyers, television journalist who has produced for public television numerous documentary explorations of ideas and issues in contemporary American life.

"These distinguished Americans, by their exemplary dedication to extending the reach of the humanities through their chosen media, have made an outstanding contribution to American cultural life," said National Endowment for the Humanities chairman Sheldon Hackney. "It is with great pleasure and deep appreciation for their work that we honor them as the 1996 recipients of the Charles Frankel Prize in the Humanities."

The award commemorates the late Charles Frankel (1917-1979), whose career included service as professor of philosophy at Columbia University, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs, and first director of the National Humanities Center in North Carolina. This is the eighth year that the Frankel Prize has been awarded. Past recipients include former CBS correspondent Charles Kuralt, African-American studies scholar John Hope Franklin, author Eudora Welty, filmmaker Ken Burns and Librarian of Congress Emeritus Daniel J. Boorstin.