President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle announced yesterday that the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) is the first institution to receive the National Medal of Arts, the highest award given to artists and arts patrons by the United States government. The National Medal of Arts is reserved for those who are "deserving of special recognition by reason of their outstanding contributions to the excellence, growth, support and availability of the arts in the United States."
BAM president Karen Brooks Hopkins commented on the honor to the Wall Street Journal: "a great recognition of a long and distinguished history."
Recognized for over 150 years of innovative contributions to the performing and visual arts, Hopkins, with BAM executive producer Joseph V. Melilo and board chairman Alan H. Fishman, continued to praise the talent who have utilized the space for the award in their public announcement stating:
"We believe the choice of BAM for this honor reflects the hard work of the brilliant artists who have graced our stages and screens, the hundreds of arts administrators and board members who have given the institution their service...