President Obama Honors Bill T.

July 23, 2014

Bill T. Jones has a new honor to add to his collection: A 2013 National Medal of Arts. President Barack Obama will present the award to Jones and this year’s 11 other recipients in a ceremony at the White House on Monday—you can catch the live stream at 3 pm EST on


The National Medal of Arts is the highest government award given to artists and arts patrons. And even though anyone is allowed to submit a nomination, it’s the president himself who makes the final decisions (with recommendations from the National Council on the Arts). In receiving this award, the ever-provocative Jones joins the ranks of iconic dance artists like Mikhail Baryshnikov, Martha Graham and Gene Kelly, among many others. On the National Medal of Arts website, Jones writes, “At a time when the arts have an ever-dwindling presence and importance…I am grateful that the United States government and President Barack Obama take the time to recognize the necessity of art, and pay respect to the artistic voices that influence and inspire the public to challenge, question and discover meaning through the arts.”


Other recipients this year include Brooklyn Academy of Music, which has presented established and emerging artists (many of them dancers) for over 150 years; and patron Joan Harris, who is a major supporter of the arts in Chicago, and has served as chairman of the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, among many other positions at various organizations.


You can see the full list of winners here. Congratulations to all!