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                      Office of the Press Secretary 
                             (Houston, Texas) 
For Immediate Release                               September 26, 1997 

President Clinton recently named the 1997 recipients of the National Medal of Arts and the National Humanities Medal. The President and First Lady will present the awards on September 29, 1997 at 9 a.m. at the White House.

The Medal of Arts, established by Congress in 1984, honors individuals and organizations who in the President's judgement 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. It will be presented to nine artists, an arts patron, and an arts organization. The National Humanities Medal honors individuals or groups whose work has deepened the nation's understanding of the humanities, broadened citizens' engagement with the humanities, or helped preserve and expand Americans' access to important resources in the humanities. Ten individuals will receive the 1997 Humanities Medal. The President selects the honorees for both Medals.

Each year this ceremony gives us an opportunity to celebrate the extraordinary contributions of individual American artists, writers and thinkers; to reflect on the role of the arts and humanities in our own lives and in the life of our great democracy, President Clinton said. These are men and women whose accomplishments speak to the breadth and depth of our creative and intellectual genius.

Named by President Clinton as 1997 National Medal of Arts recipients are:

Louise Bourgeois, sculptor, visual artist; New York City, New York Betty Carter, jazz vocalist; Brooklyn, New York Agnes Gund, patron of the arts; New York City, New York Daniel Urban Kiley, landscape architect; Charlotte, Vermont Angela Lansbury, actor; Los Angeles, California James Levine, artistic director for the Metropolitan Opera, pianist; New York City, New York
Tito Puente, Latin percussionist, musician; New York City, New York Jason Robards, actor; Southport, Connecticut Edward Villella, artistic director for Miami City Ballet, dancer; Miami, Florida
Doc Watson, bluegrass and old-time music guitarist and vocalist; Deep Gap, North Carolina
MacDowell Colony, artist colony/organization; Peterborough, New Hampshire

Jane Alexander, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, said, The individuals we honor have enlightened us with their vision, uplifted us with their art, music, dance and theater, and strengthened America with their extraordinary contributions to our culture.

Named by President Clinton as 1997 National Humanities Medal recipients are:
Nina M. Archabal, museum director and historian; St. Paul, Minnesota David A. Berry, community college educator; Millburn, New Jersey Richard J. Franke, cultural advocate; Chicago, Illinois William Friday, higher education administrator and humanities educator; Chapel Hill, North Carolina Don Henley, musician and philanthropist; Los Angeles, California Maxine Hong Kingston, teacher and writer about the Chinese-American experience; Oakland, California
Luis Leal, scholar of Chicano studies; Santa Barbara, California Martin E. Marty, scholar of American religious history; Chicago, Illinois
Paul Mellon, philanthropist; Upperville, Virginia Studs Terkel, radio talk-show host, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, and oral historian; Chicago, Illinois

The work of the 10 National Humanities Medalists, ranging from scholarship to cultural advocacy, from public programming to philanthropy, and from education to literary creation, highlights the diverse ways that the humanities contribute to American life and culture, said Sheldon Hackney, outgoing National Endowment for the Humanities Chairman, under whom the award was established. It is exciting to see accomplished people from many different professions receive national recognition for their dedication to the humanities.

The National Endowment for the Arts seeks nominations for the Medal of Arts, and the agency's National Council on the Arts recommends honorees. The Medal of Arts medallion was designed by artist Robert Graham. The National Endowment for the Humanities seeks nominations for the National Humanities Medal. This new award replaces the Charles Frankel Prize in the Humanities, which was bestowed annually to five distinguished Americans for the last eight years. The Humanities medallion was designed by 1995 Frankel Prize winner, David Macaulay.

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