President Bush presents National Medals of the Arts Awards


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Mr. and Mrs. Obama aren’t the only ones to have visited the White House for a little face time with the president in recent days: George W. Bush announced today the nine recipients of the 2008 National Medal of the Arts, managed by the National Endowment for the Arts, at a ceremony in the East Room of the White House.

Among those presented with the medals by the president and first lady were Los Angeles comic book writer and producer Stan Lee — creator and co-creator of comic book icons including Spiderman, the Incredible Hulk and the X-Men — and the songwriting brothers Robert B. Sherman and Richard M. Sherman, who wrote the scores for numerous Disney films, including ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,’ ‘The Jungle Book’ and ‘The Aristocrats’ and won two Academy Awards for ‘Mary Poppins.’


For better or worse, the Shermans can also count among their songwriting credits ‘It’s a Small World,’ heard over and over (and over) on the Disneyland ride.

Also receiving arts medals were actress Olivia de Havilland; the Fisk Jubilee singers of Nashville; the Ford’s Theatre Society, the theater and museum in Washington, D.C.; jazz musician Hank Jones, who was named NEA Jazz Master in 1989; the Jose Limon Dance Foundation in New York City; granite sculptor Jesus Moroles of Rockport, Texas; and music patron the Presser Foundation of Haverford, Pa.

President Bush also announced the award of five Presidential Citizens Medals to National Endowment for the Arts chairman Dana Gioia, who recently announced his resignation from the post in January to divide his time between writing poetry and a position at the Aspen Arts Institute; National Endowment for the Humanities chairman Bruce Cole; President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities chairman Adair Margo; and Anne-Imelda M. Radice and Robert S. Martin, the current and former directors for Museum and Library Services.

—Diane Haithman

Photo: Los Angeles comic book writer-producer Stan Lee with George Bush.

Credit: Mark Wilson / EPA