For the first time since he took office, President Trump will award the National Medal of the Arts and the National Humanities Medal, honoring eight recipients including the actor Jon Voight, the novelist James Patterson, the musicians of the United States Military and the conservative think tank the Claremont Institute.
The medals, given annually since the 1980s, were last awarded in 2016, by President Obama, who named about a dozen honorees for each medal, as was typical in past years. This week, in a terse announcement, the administration named four winners each for the arts and the humanities. They will be honored on Thursday at the White House.
In addition to Mr. Voight and the musicians of the military, the winners of the arts medal are the bluegrass musician and singer Alison Krauss and the philanthropist Sharon Percy Rockefeller, who is also president of WETA, Washington’s public television and radio station.
The humanities honorees include Patrick O’Connell, the chef at the Inn at Little Washington, an acclaimed restaurant in Washington, Va., and Teresa Lozano Long, a philanthropist in Austin, Tex., as well as Mr. Patterson and the Claremont Institute.
The lack of awards since he came into office had underscored Mr. Trump’s uneasy relationship with the arts, and his rocky history with the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, which he attempted to close down shortly after his inauguration.
In 2017, all 16 members of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities resigned in protest after Mr. Trump made comments in defense of white nationalists after the violent demonstrations in Charlottesville, Va. And for the past two years, Mr. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have skipped the Kennedy Center Honors, a major event on the Washington cultural calendar.
The arts and humanities medals are among the country’s most prestigious cultural honors. In 2016, the year they were last given, winners included the comedian Mel Brooks, the interviewer Terry Gross, the trumpeter and composer Wynton Marsalis, the biographer Ron Chernow and the novelist Sandra Cisneros.
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