National Medal of Arts

The National Medal of Arts, first awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts in 1985, honors individuals or groups that have encouraged the arts in the United States and offered inspiration to others through distinguished achievement, support or patronage.

Mike Nichols


National Medal of Arts, 2001
A television, stage, and film director, writer, and producer. Director of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The Graduate, and  Angels in America.

Mike Nichols

Philip Roth


National Medal of Arts, 1998
Author of Patrimony, Operation Shylock, Sabbath’s Theater, American Pastoral, and I Married a Communist

Philip Roth

Katherine Dunham (1909–2006)


National Medal of Arts, 1989
Dancer, choreographer, and anthropologist; pioneer in the use of folk and ethnic choreography; one of the founders of the anthropological dance movement.

Katherine Dunham

Saul Bellow (1915–2005)

X’39; Raymond W. and Martha Hilpert Gruner Distinguished Service Professor in the Committee on Social Thought and in English, 1962–1993; chairman of the Committee on Social Thought, 1970–76

National Medal of Arts, 1988
Author of The Adventures of Augie March, Herzog, Mr. Sammler’s Planet, Humboldt’s Gift, and Ravelstein

Saul Bellow