Herb Alpert and Allen Toussaint to Receive National Medal of the Arts

Herb Alpert and Allen Toussaint are among the luminaries to be awarded the 2012 National Medal of the Arts during a ceremony that will be held on Wednesday (July 10) at the White House.

Yes, that would be the 2012 awards which were never given out last year, the first time that the honor had not been bestowed since its inception in 1984.

Alpert is being honored "for his varied contributions to music and the fine arts. The musician behind the Tijuana Brass phenomenon and co-founder of A&M Records, which launched several storied careers, Mr. Alpert is also a philanthropist who shares the power of arts education with young people across our country."

Toussaint was named "for his contributions as a composer, producer, and performer. Born and raised in New Orleans, Mr. Toussaint has built a legendary career alongside America’s finest musicians, sustaining his city’s rich tradition of rhythm and blues and lifting it to the national stage."

Also being given the National Medal of the Arts are Lin Arison, co-founder of the National YoungArts Foundation and the New World Symphony; Joan Myers Brown, founder of the Philadelphia Dance Company; Renee Fleming, opera singer; Ernest Gaines, author and teacher; Ellsworth Kelly, painter, sculptor and printmaker; Tony Kushner, playwright; George Lucas of Star Wars and American Graffiti fame; Elaine May, comedic writer; Laurie Olin, landscape architect and the Washington Performing Arts Society. Twelve additional individuals will receive the National Humanities Medal Citation.

The National Medal of the Arts was established by congress in 1984 to honor artists and patron of the arts and is the highest honor that can be bestowed upon an individual on behalf of the people. Previous honorees include Alan Lomax (1986), Ella Fitzgerald (1987), B.B. King (1990), Roy Acuff (1991), Earl Scruggs (1992), Ray Charles (1993), Pete Seeger (1994), Bill Monroe (1995), Doc Watson (1997), Fats Domino (1998), Aretha Franklin and Odetta (1999), Eddy Arnold and Barbra Streisand (2000), Johnny Cash (2001), George Jones and Smokey Robinson (2002), Buddy Guy and George Strait (2003), Dolly Parton (2005), Ralph Stanley (2006), Les Paul (2007), Bob Dylan (2009), Quincy Jones and James Taylor (2010) and Mel Tillis (2011).

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