Ronald Reagan picture

Announcement of the Recipients of the National Medal of Arts

April 17, 1985

The President today announced the following recipients of the National Medal of Arts. They will be honored at a White House luncheon on April 23, 1985. This is the first time that the award will be presented.

Elliot Carter, of New York, is a composer and the winner of two Pulitzer Prizes for music. His compositions include Piano Sonata (1946), Double Concerto for Piano and Harpsichord (1961), Piano Concerto (1965), and Night Fantasies (1980).

Ralph (Waldo) Ellison, of New York, wrote "The Invisible Man" in 1952, a book called the most distinguished American novel of the postwar period by Book Week. His latest published work was a collection of essays, "Shadow and Act," an autobiography of the spirit and intellect, which was published in 1964.

Jose Vicente Ferrer, of New York, has been a stage and screen actor since 1935. His stage and screen portrayal of Cyrano has won him acclaim and awards. He is also a director and has many roles on television.

Martha Graham, of New York, is a dancer, teacher, choreographer, and directs her own dance company. Since 1926 Miss Graham has been a leading force in American dance and is known throughout the world for her work.

Louise Nevelson, of New York, originated environmental sculpture by assembling bits of materials in what she called a "unified whole." Her work is displayed in many major museums, and she has used wood, plaster, terra cotta, stone, bronze, aluminum, and other materials in her own sculptures.

Leontyne Price, of New York, first debuted on television but since 1955 has gone on to sing leading roles with the major opera companies of the world. She is famous for her performances in operas by Giuseppe Verdi.

Georgia O'Keeffe, of Albuquerque, began her career as an advertising artist but now is world famous for her bleached animal skulls and giant flower blossoms. She has been honored by many retrospective shows, and her work is displayed in leading museums.

Hallmark Cards, Inc., of Kansas City, has been the sponsor of the Hallmark Hall of Fame for 34 years, during which it has received 49 Emmy Awards. This giant corporation also supports a number of local arts institutions in towns and cities where it maintains facilities.

Dorothy Buffurn Chandler, of Los Angeles, is credited with the major effort behind the conception and construction of the Music Center of Los Angeles. The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, a part of that performing center, is named for her in recognition of that effort.

Lincoln Kirstein, of New York, established the School of American Ballet and the New York City Ballet because he believed the United States should have its own classical ballet style. He has published many works on dance and continues to guide the school and the City Ballet.

Paul Mellon, of Washington, DC, was instrumental in creating and endowing the National Gallery of Art. His collection of art, including prime examples of English art, has been donated to the Yale Center for British Art at Yale University.

Alice Tully, of New York, studied music and debuted in 1927 before becoming a patron of the arts. Her major gift to Lincoln Center resulted in the dedication of the Alice Tully Hall in 1969.

Ronald Reagan, Announcement of the Recipients of the National Medal of Arts Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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