President George W. Bush has honored ten American artists with the 2006 National Medal of Arts, including composer William Bolcom, bluegrass legend Dr. Ralph Stanley, and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. The medals, which are “the nation’s highest honor for artistic excellence,” were presented yesterday by the President and Mrs. Laura Bush in an Oval Office ceremony at the White House. The 2006 National Medal of Arts recipients also included Cyd Charisse (dancer); Roy R. DeCarava (photographer); Wilhelmina Holladay (arts patron); Erich Kunzel (conductor); Gregory Rabassa (literary translator); Viktor Schreckengost (industrial designer/sculptor); and Interlochen Center for the Arts.
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