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Clinton Honors Philanthropists, Artists, Scholars With Medals

September 30, 1997| From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — President Clinton on Monday honored artists, scholars and philanthropists by awarding arts and humanities medals that he said showed the United States was "a nation of creators and innovators."

Clinton told guests on the White House's South Lawn that celebrating the nearly two dozen recipients of the medals also celebrates the nation's achievements.

The president said the country will always support artists and scholars. "It is our heritage. It must be a great gift we give to the future," he said.

The National Medal of Arts, established by Congress in 1984, honors those who have made outstanding contributions to the arts. The National Humanities Medal, a new award, replaces the Charles Frankel Prize in Humanities.

The New York Metropolitan Opera artistic director, James Levine, was one of the 11 National Medal of Arts winners.

In addition to Levine, jazz great Betty Carter, actress Angela Lansbury and actor Jason Robards received the medal. Latin percussionist Tito Puente, whose mere name Clinton said made everybody want to get up and dance, and bluegrass guitarist Doc Watson also were presented with arts medals.

The other arts-medal recipients were New York city sculptor Louise Bourgeois; New York arts patron Agnes Gund; Charlotte, Vt., landscape architect Daniel Urban Kiley; dancer Edward Villella, artistic director for the Miami City Ballet; and the MacDowell Colony, a Petersborough, N.H., artists' association.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Studs Terkel joined rock musician Don Henley on the dais to accept the National Humanities Medal.

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