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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release October 13, 1994

The President and First Lady will honor 16 distinguished American artists and humanists and one arts organization for their outstanding contributions to the nation's cultural life at White House ceremonies on October 14.

Honorees are the 12 recipients of the 1994 National Medal of the Arts, selected by President Clinton in collaboration with the National Endowment for the Arts, and the five recipients of the 1994 Charles Frankel Prize in the Humanities, chosen by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Also to be honored for his lifelong contributions in both fields is U.S. Senator Claiborne Pell (D-RI).

"These extraordinary and talented individuals have borne eloquent testimony to the enduring power of the arts and the humanities in our everyday lives," the President said. "They have contributed profoundly to the richness and variety of our nation's cultural life, and so it is with enormous gratitude that we pay them national tribute."

The First Lady said, "We are extremely pleased to honor each of these wonderful Americans whose life's work is an everlasting gift to the nation."

Earlier this month, the President proclaimed October as National Arts and Humanities Month and the White House awards ceremony headlines the events marking this celebration.

The National Medal of Arts honors distinguished artists and patrons who have offered inspiration to others either through their artistic achievement or exceptional work on behalf of the arts. The Frankel Prize honors Americans who have had outstanding success in bringing the insights of the humanities to wide public audiences.

Named by President Clinton as recipients of the 1994 National Medal of Arts are:

     Actor and singer Harry Belafonte, New York, NY
     Jazz musician and composer Dave Brubeck, Wilton, CT
     Contralto Celia Cruz, New York, NY
     Violin teacher Dorothy DeLay, Upper Nyack, NY
     Actor Julie Harris, West Chatham, MA
     Choreographer Erick Hawkins, New York, NY
     Dancer Gene Kelly, Beverly Hills, CA
     Folk musician Pete Seeger, Beacon, NY
     Arts patron Catherine Filene Shouse, Vienna, VA
     Painter Wayne Thiebaud, Sacramento, CA
     Poet Richard Wilbur, Cummington, MA
     Young Audiences, New York, NY

Winners of the 1994 Charles Frankel Prize for their work in the humanities are:

     Educator Ernest L. Boyer, Princeton, NJ
     Writer William Kittredge, Missoula, MT
     Literary scholar Peggy Whitman Prenshaw, Baton Rouge, LA
     Public television executive Sharon Percy Rockefeller, Alexandria, VA
     Librarian Emerita Dorothy Porter Wesley, Washington, DC

Also receiving the Presidential Citizens Medal for his legislative leadership and strong advocacy of the arts and humanities over the years is Senator Claiborne Pell of Rhode Island, Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Education, Arts and Humanities.

The Presidential awards presentation will take place on Friday , October 14, at 2:00 p.m., on the White House South Lawn. An official dinner honoring the recipients will be held that evening.

The White House ceremonies mark the tenth annual presentation of the National Medal of the Arts, which, unlike other arts awards, is not limited to a single field or area of artistic endeavor. The award honors "individuals 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."

Nominations for the National Medal of Arts are sought annually by the National Endowment for the Arts and reviewed by the agency's National Council on the Arts. Recommendations are then forwarded to the President for his selection. Winners receive a gold- covered sterling silver medal designed by sculptor Robert Graham of Los Angeles.

The National Endowment for the Humanities' Charles Frankel Prize, now in its sixth year, annually honors distinguished citizens who through their scholarship, writing, academic and/or philanthropic leadership have enriched the nation. The Prize commemorates the late Charles Frankel, an eminent 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, whose life and work exemplify the integration of scholarship and public service.

The Frankel Prize recipients were selected by Humanities Chairman Sheldon Hackney from recommendations made by the National Council on the Humanities. The winners receive a lucite trophy crafted by Jeffrey Bigelow of Washington, D.C.

In the proclamation declaring October National Arts and Humanities month, the President said, " [This] is a time when we recognize the contributions of artists, scholars, museums, theaters, libraries, schools, foundations, government agencies, and other organizations and individuals who work to keep the arts and humanities a vital part of our lives. Let us reflect on the breadth of artistic and humanistic endeavor that blossom freely across our nation, and let us rejoice in the eloquence and meaning they give to our lives, hopes and dreams as American citizens."