The 2013 National Medal of Arts, the government’s highest award for artists and art patrons, will be presented by President Obama to 12 honorees on July 28. Among the recipients are Chicago philanthropist and arts patron Joan Harris “for supporting creative expression in Chicago and across our country, and historian Darlene Clark Hine “for enriching our understanding of the African American experience”. Other medal winners include novelists Julia Alvarez, and Maxine Hong Kingston. For the complete list of awardees see this short article in the Chicago Sun-Times.
Filmmaker Spike Lee is the 2013 recipient of the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize, established by Lillian Gish’s will. Now in its 20th year, it is given annually to “a man or woman who has made an outstanding contribution to the beauty of the world and to mankind’s enjoyment and understanding of life.” Chairman of the selection committee Darren Walker said: “We honor Spike Lee for his brilliance and unwavering courage in using film to challenge conventional thinking, and for the passion for justice he feels in his soul.” Chosen from among 30 finalists and nominated by artists, Mr. Lee’s films include feature films as well as documentaries. Read more about him here and check out the EPL catalog for works by and about him.