Steinway, Wyeth Among Arts Medal Recipients

By Jacqueline Trescott
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, November 15, 2007

Les Paul, the guitar innovator; Henry Ziegler Steinway, whose family handcrafted thousands of pianos; and Andrew Wyeth, the master painter of American scenes, will receive the National Medal of Arts today.

President Bush announced the recipients yesterday and will honor the winners of the arts medal, as well recipients of the National Humanities Medal, in a White House ceremony this morning. The annual awards highlight artistic and scholarly accomplishments.

The humanities accolades are going to scholars Stephen H. Balch, Ruth R. Wisse and Henry Leonard Snyder; authors Russell Freedman, Cynthia Ozick and Richard Pipes; military historian Victor Davis Hanson; and curator Pauline L. Schultz. Also cited are philanthropist Roger Hertog and the Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art, a group dedicated to the memory of the men and women who saved art treasures during World War II.

Their achievements, said Chairman Bruce Cole of the National Endowment for the Humanities, include "scholarship, preservation of our cultural heritage, literary criticism and philanthropic endeavors."

In addition to Paul, Steinway and Wyeth, the arts medalists include: author N. Scott Momaday, theater director R. Craig Noel, painter George Tooker, composer Morten Lauridsen and arts patron Roy R. Neuberger. The University of Idaho Lionel Hampton International Jazz Festival, a 40-year-old program at the college in Moscow, Idaho, will also receive a medal.

The National Endowment for the Arts and its humanities counterpart survey leaders in their fields to develop a list of nominees. The finalists are selected by the White House.

"These individuals and this organization have all made enduring contributions to the artistic life of our nation," said NEA Chairman Dana Gioia. He added, "Whether by composing profound choral work, or creating paintings of both beauty and unease, or giving us wonderful stories steeped in Native American traditions, their work has enriched our national culture."

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