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Bruce Springsteen, Gladys Knight, José Feliciano to Receive National Medal of Arts From White House

Springsteen received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Obama in 2016

A cohort of iconic musicians and artists will be receiving the 2021 National Medal of Arts from President Joe Biden Tuesday. On Monday, the White House announced that Bruce Springsteen, Gladys Knight, and José Feliciano are among the musicians to receive the coveted award.

The event will mark The Boss’ second visit to the White House after being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama back in 2016. Tuesday’s event will celebrate the 2021 distinction after the White House had to postpone numerous ceremonies due to the pandemic.

Among the honorees are actors Mindy Kaling and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, fashion mogul Vera Wang, artists Judith Francisca Baca and Antonio Martorell-Cardona, philanthropist Fred Eychaner, and film producer Joan Shigekawa. Two institutions — the Billie Holiday Theater and the International Association of Blacks in Dance — will also receive the medal. (Only Feliciano is expected to miss the ceremony Tuesday.)

First Lady Jill Biden is set to join the president during the event. It follows last September’s special moment when Biden surprised Elton John with the National Humanities Medal during an appearance at the White House last year.


“The President of the United States awards this National Humanities Medal to Sir Elton John for moving our souls with his powerful voice, one of the defining songbooks of all time,” the White House said at the time. “An enduring icon and advocate with absolute courage, who found purpose to challenge convention, shatter stigma and advance a simple truth: that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.”

The National Medal of Arts bestowment is the highest honor given to artists by the United States government. Musicians such as Ricky Skaggs, Toby Keith, Linda Ronstadt, and Smokey Robinson have received the distinction in past years.

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