Thursday, July 11, 2013

Star Wars Creator George Lucas Receives the National Medals of Art and the National Humanities Medal

The awards’ formal citations singled out Didion “for her mastery of style in writing”; Lucas for “combining the art of storytelling with boundless imagination and cutting-edge techniques”; and May for her “groundbreaking wit and a keen understanding of how humor can illuminate our lives.”

Lucas was one of a number of medal recipients with deep Hollywood connections, including writer Joan Didion, who was honored with a Humanities Medal. Comic writer Elaine May, musician-recording executive Herb Alpert and playwright-screenwriter Tony Kushner also received arts medals, along with writer Ernest Gaines, opera diva Renee Fleming, painter Ellsworth Kelly, landscape architect Laurie Olin and New Orleans-based composer Allen Toussaint.

Along with Didion, Humanities medal recipients included Robert Silvers -- founder and editor of the New York Review of Books -- historian Edward L. Ayers, economist William G. Bowen, historians Jill Ker Conway and Natalie Zemon Davis, sportswriter Frank Deford, sociologist Robert Putnam, novelist Marilynne Robinson, poet Kay Ryan, performance artist Anna Deavere Smith and visual artist Camilo Jose Vergara.

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