Saxophonist Sonny Rollins was one of ten honorees who received the 2010 National Medal of Arts for outstanding achievements and support of the arts. The presentation was held on March 2nd with President Barack Obama in an East Room ceremony at the White House.
“I’m very happy that jazz, the greatest American music, is being recognized through this honor, and I’m grateful to accept this award on behalf of the gods of our music,” Rollins said of the award.
The National Medal of Arts is a White House initiative managed by the National Endowment for the Arts. Each year, the NEA organizes and oversees the National Medal of Arts nomination process and notifies the artists of their selection to receive a medal, the nation’s highest honor for artistic excellence.
“The National Medal of Arts recipients represent the many vibrant and diverse art forms thriving in America,” said NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman. “From criticism to literature, music, poetry, sculpture, and theater, these honorees’ devotion to shaping and sharing American art is unrivaled, and I join the President and the country in saluting them.”
The 2010 National Medal of Arts Recipients are: Robert Brustein, theatrical critic, producer, playwright, educator; Van Cliburn, pianist, music educator; Mark di Suvero, sculptor; Donald Hall, poet; Quincy Jones, musician, music producer; Harper Lee, author; Sonny Rollins, jazz musician; Meryl Streep, actress; James Taylor, singer, songwriter; Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival.
You can check out video of the ceremony above.