February 13th, 2012
05:58 PM ET
President Obama paid tribute to Americans who have excelled in the arts and humanities when he awarded the 2011 National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal.
Actor Al Pacino, country singer Mel Tillis and Rita Dove, the youngest person to be named U.S. youngest poet laureate, were among those honored in the White House East Room Monday.
Quoting from the work of American poet Emily Dickinson, Mr. Obama told the artists and writers, "[W]hat connects every one of you is that you dwell in possibilities. You create new possibilities for all of us."
The president also stressed the importance of continued support of the arts for children in this country.
"[A]s we honor the icons of today we also have to champion the icons of tomorrow. They need our support. We need them to succeed. We need them to succeed as much as we need engineers, scientists, we also need artists, scholars,” said President Obama. “We need them to take the mantle from you, to do their part to disrupt our views and to challenge our presumptions and, most of all, to steer in us a need to be our better selves."
2011 National Medal of Arts
2011 National Humanities Medal
Kwame Anthony Appiah
November 2nd, 2011
06:15 PM ET
WHITE HOUSE (CNN) – Daniel Artis spends four afternoons a week after school with his friends, not on the basketball court, but in a dance studio. Yet this Wednesday afternoon he wasn’t dancing. Instead, he was at the White House receiving an award.
The high school junior at Fairmont Heights High School in Washington, D.C., is part of the after-school program, Positive Directions Through Dance (PDTD), which was honored in a ceremony at the White House with First Lady Michelle Obama.
The after-school dance program was one of 12 winners of the 2011 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award. The recipients were chosen from a pool of 471 nominations and 50 finalists from across the country of after-school programs that use the humanities to encourage students to live healthy and balanced lifestyles. The winners ranged from a group that teaches poetry to teen moms who have dropped out of high school to a youth chorus from inner-city New York City that has toured around the world.
Mrs. Obama praised the groups for providing a nuturing atmosphere and for teaching skills that will impact all areas of the students’ lives.
“In so doing, you’re not just teaching these young people about painting or acting or singing, you’re teaching them about hard work and discipline and teamwork,” the First Lady said. “You’re teaching them how to manage their time - something that we all need to learn how to set goals, and, more importantly, how to achieve those goals.” FULL POST