President Trump Awards National Medals for Arts and Humanities

January 14, 2021 Updated: January 14, 2021

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump awarded the National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal to several outstanding individuals.

Five National Medal of Arts and three National Humanities Medals were granted.

In relation to music, 90-year-old Mary Costa was decorated “for her extraordinary talent, inspiration, and contribution to the operatic arts. Her stellar career includes performances in 38 operatic roles,” said the White House in a press release.

Mary Costa is an American operatic singer and an actress, best known for her vocal interpretation of 1959 Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty.”

Epoch Times Photo
Photo of vocalist and actress Mary Costa in 1976. (Public Domain)

Ricky Skaggs and Toby Keith were awarded the medal for their contributions to the American music industry.

Photojournalist Nick Ut was decorated for his work on wartime photography.

Epoch Times Photo
A South Vietnamese officer, right, holds a pistol as he and interpreter interrogate a Khmer Rouge Cambodian communist, captured in Eastern Cambodia on March 13, 1972. (Nick Ut/AP Photo)

For preserving and expanding the National Gallery of Art, Earl Powell was awarded the National Medal of Arts.

The other awardees of the medal are O. James Lighthizer for preserving Civil War battlefield historic sites; Kay Coles James for her “intellectual leadership, devotion to our Constitutional principles, and steadfast commitment to opportunity for all,” and The National World War II Museum “for its devotion to bringing to life the story of America’s greatest generation and our remarkable victory against the forces of evil. The National World War II Museum has captivated millions of Americans with its compelling exhibits and expansive collections.”

According to the White House’s website:

“The National Medal of Arts is the highest award given to artists and arts patrons by the United States Government. The National Humanities Medal honors individuals or groups whose work has deepened the Nation’s understanding of the humanities and broadened our citizens’ engagement with history, literature, languages, philosophy, and other humanities subjects.”

On Jan. 7, Trump awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor, to retired golfers Annika Sörenstam, Gary Player, and the late Babe Zaharias.

The White House released a statement in March 2020 saying that Trump would present the Medal of Freedom to Sörenstam and Player later that month, but the event was postponed due to the pandemic.

Golfers
Gary Player reacts after hitting a longer tee shot then Annika Sorenstam on the 15th hole during the Berenberg Gary Player Invitational Pro-Am in Bedford Hills, New York, on Oct. 12, 2015. (Adam Hunger/Getty Images)

Player and Sörenstam joined Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Charlie Sifford, and Tiger Woods to become the only golfers to have received the Medal of Freedom.