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President Bush Announces 2001 Arts and Humanities Medalists

WASHINGTON, March 14, 2002--President George W. Bush today announced the recipients of the National Humanities Medal and the National Medal of Arts for the year 2001. The President and First Lady Laura Bush, honorary chairman of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, will present the medals to 14 individuals and two organizations at a ceremony in April.

2001 National Humanities Medal Recipients

  • Jose Cisneros, historical illustrator (Texas)
  • Robert Coles, child psychologist, researcher and professor of psychiatry (Massachusetts)
  • Sharon Darling, teacher and literacy advocate (Kentucky)
  • William Manchester, historian and writer (Connecticut)
  • National Trust for Historic Preservation, preservation organization (Washington, D.C.)
  • Richard Peck, author (New York)
  • Eileen Jackson Southern, musicologist (Florida)
  • Tom Wolfe, author (New York)

(Biographies of the National Humanities Medalists follow below.)

2001 National Medal of Arts Recipients

  • Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation, modern dance company and school (New York)
  • Rudolfo Anaya, writer (New Mexico)
  • Johnny Cash, singer and songwriter (Tennessee)
  • Kirk Douglas, actor and producer (California)
  • Helen Frankenthaler, painter (Connecticut)
  • Judith Jamison, artistic director, choreographer and dancer (New York)
  • Yo-Yo Ma, cellist (Massachusetts)
  • Mike Nichols, director and producer (New York)

The National Humanities Medal, first inaugurated in 1988 as the Charles Frankel Prize, 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.

The Medal of Arts, established by Congress in 1984, honors individuals and organizations 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.

Each year, the two Endowments seek nominations from individuals and organizations across the country. The National Council on the Arts and the National Council on the Humanities, the Endowments' Presidentially appointed advisory bodies, provide recommendations to the President, who selects the recipients.

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2001 NATIONAL HUMANITIES MEDALISTS

Jose Cisneros, historical illustrator (El Paso, Texas)
Artist Jose Cisneros is renowned for depicting the people and culture of the old Southwest through his illustrations for magazines, books, and newspapers. His Borderlands--The Heritage of the Lower Rio Grande through the Art of Jose Cisneros (1998) chronicles events in the history of the border between Texas and Mexico. He was knighted by Pope Paul II and by the King of Spain, Juan Carlos, for his contribution to understanding history through his art. He was honored in Texas for his contribution to historical art in the Southwest by then Governor George W. Bush.

Robert Coles, child psychologist and professor of psychiatry (Cambridge, Mass.)
Robert Coles, a research psychologist and professor of psychiatry and medical humanities at Harvard University, is the author of more than 50 books on ethics, child psychology and the humanities. His honors include the 2000 Medal of Freedom, a 1981 MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship and a 1973 Pulitzer Prize for volumes two and three of his five-volume Children of Crisis (1967-1978). Coles also authored The Moral Life of Children (1986) and The Spiritual Life of Children (1990). He is the Agee Professor of Social Ethics at Harvard.

Sharon Darling, literacy advocate (Louisville, Ky.)
Sharon Darling is president and founder of the National Center for Family Literacy in Louisville, Ky., where she has been at the forefront of efforts to place family reading and learning activities on the national agenda for social change. Beginning with a handful of projects in Kentucky and North Carolina, her programs today encompass more than 3,000 sites across the country. Her awards include the Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism, the Charles A. Dana Award for Pioneering Achievement in Education, the Harold W. McGraw Award for Outstanding Education, and she has been featured on the Arts & Entertainment series Biography.

William Manchester, historian and writer (Middletown, Conn.)
Historian William Manchester is a novelist, biographer, essayist and memoirist. Among his works are American Caesar (1978), a biography of Douglas MacArthur, and The Death of a President (1967), about the Kennedy assassination. His honors include the Prix Dag Hammarskjoeld au merite litteraire and the Abraham Lincoln Literary Award. He is an emeritus professor of history at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn.

Richard Peck, author (New York, N.Y.)
Richard Peck has written more than 25 novels and is recognized as one of America's most respected writers for young adults. His awards include the American Library Association' s 1990 Margaret A. Edwards Award and the University of Southern Mississippi's 1991 Medallion Award. Several of his novels have appeared on the American Library Association's list of Best Books for Young Adults, and five have been made into television movies. His Depression-era novel, A Long Way from Chicago, was a National Book Award finalist, and its sequel, A Year Down Yonder, won the 2001 Newbery Medal. He taught high school English and was assistant director of the Council for Basic Education.

Eileen Jackson Southern, musicologist (Port Charlotte, Fla.)
Musicologist Eileen Jackson Southern has helped transform the study and understanding of American music. Recipient of the 2000 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of American Music, she was founding editor of the journal Black Perspectives in Music. Among the works she has written, edited or coedited are Readings in Black American Music (1971), The Music of Black Americans: A History (1971) and African American Traditions in Song, Sermon, Tale and Dance 1600s-1920 (1990). She is an emerita professor of music and black studies at Harvard University, where she was the first African American woman to be tenured in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Tom Wolfe, author (New York, N.Y.)
Author Tom Wolfe is known for numerous works on contemporary culture and society. His novels include A Man in Full (1998), The Bonfire of the Vanities (1987), Radical Chic and Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers (1970), The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (1968) and The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby (1965). The Right Stuff (1979), an account of the beginnings of the American space program, became a national bestseller and the basis for a film of the same name. His other writings include The Painted Word (1975) and From Bauhaus to Our House (1981), which provide critical looks at modern art and architecture. His writing has also appeared in New York Magazine, Esquire and Harper's.

National Trust for Historic Preservation (Washington, D.C.)
Established by Congress in 1949, the National Trust for Historic Preservation works to protect the built environment and incorporate historic places into community life. The Trust has been instrumental in broadening the preservation movement. In addition to a network of 20 historic sites that serve as centers for preservation and humanities education, the Trust helps rehabilitate traditional downtown areas of small towns and turn neglected historic properties into affordable housing. The organization is the lead partner in the White House's Save America's Treasures initiative. The Trust is currently raising an endowment to broaden humanities-based education at historic sites nationwide.

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About the National Endowment for the Humanities

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at: www.neh.gov.

Media Contacts: Office of Communications at (202) 606-8446 or info@neh.gov