WASHINGTON D.C. — Two men from Louisiana will meet President Obama today to receive a National Medal of Arts at the White House today.
The First Lady will also attend the ceremony, which is held in the East Room.
These two Louisiana native are Ernest Gaines of Oscar and Allen Toussaint, of New Orleans.
Gaines will receive the award for his contributions as an author and teacher. Drawing deeply from his childhood in the rural South, his works have shed new light on the African-American experience and given voice to those who have endured injustice.
Toussaint is a composer, producer, and performer. Born and raised in New Orleans, he has built a legendary career alongside America’s finest musicians, sustaining his city’s rich tradition of rhythm and blues and lifting it to the national stage.
The National Endowment for the Arts was established by the Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the Federal Government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with State arts agencies, local leaders, other Federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector. The National Endowment for the Humanities was created in 1965 as an independent Federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the Nation. The Endowment brings high-quality historical and cultural experiences to large and diverse audiences in all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and five territories.