Tony Kushner, Anna Deavere Smith, Joan Didion and Elaine May Among National Medal of Arts and Humanities Recipients

Angels in America playwright Tony Kushner will be presented with the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama July 10 at the White House.

Tony Kushner
Tony Kushner (Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN)

The National Medal of Arts, established by Congress in 1984, is awarded by the President and managed by the National Endowment for the Arts. Award recipients are selected based on their "contributions to the creation, growth and support of the arts in the United States."

In addition to Kushner, the President will also award Elaine May, Renée Fleming, the Washington Performing Arts Society, George Lucas, Herb Alpert, Lin Arison, Joan Myers Brown, Ernest Gaines, Ellsworth Kelly, Laurie Olin and Allen Toussaint with the National Medal of Arts.

The White House also announced that National Humanities Medals will be presented to Anna Deavere Smith, Joan Didion, Edward L. Ayers, William G. Bowen, Jill Ker Conway, Natalie Zemon Davis, Frank Deford, Robert Putnam, Marilynne Robinson, Kay Ryan, Robert B. Silvers and Camilo José Vergara.

The National Endowment for the Humanities was created in 1965 as an independent federal agency that "supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the Nation."