The highest honor bestowed to artists by the U.S. 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."
Wayne Reynolds, chairman of the board of trustees for Ford's Theatre Society, and Paul R. Tetreault, director of Ford's Theatre Society, were presented with the awards in a ceremony at the White House on Nov. 17. Ford's Theatre Society is among nine recipients honored in 2008.
"Ford's Theatre is of great importance both historically and culturally—it embodies Abraham's Lincoln's legacy, especially his love of the arts and their ability to uplift and inspire in times of great turmoil," Reynolds said in a statement. "We are thrilled that the President has honored our work in the arts with this prestigious award."
In addition to the National Medal of Arts, Ford's Theatre also received the Volk Lincoln Honor from the Lincoln Forum in honor of its contributions to the Lincoln legacy. Tetreault will also accept the award on behalf of Ford's Theatre at the Lincoln Forum Symposium on Nov. 17.
Among 2008 National Medal of Arts recipients are actress Olivia de Havilland, songwriting team the Sherman Brothers, jazz musician Hank Jones, writer and producer Stan Lee, the José Limón Dance Foundation, the Fisk Jubilee Singers, sculptor Jesús Moroles and the Presser Foundation. *
Since it reopened its doors in 1968, more than 100 years after the April 14, 1865, assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, Ford's Theatre has been one of the most visited sites in the nation's capital. For further information visit Fords.org.