Washington D.C. – Last night, the First Lady hosted the International Medal of Arts Ceremony at the White House. The Medal of Arts was created in 2012 by Art in Embassies in partnership with the Secretary of State to highlight exemplary artists whose work has been dedicated to the promotion of cultural diplomacy.
The ceremony began promptly at 5 p.m. with a statement of acknowledgment by the First Lady and was followed by opening remarks from Deputy Secretary of State, Richard Verma.
“In other cities and other countries, you’ve woven more threads into that same tapestry of connection and fellowship. Because diplomacy isn’t only about the government-to-government relationship; it’s people to people, heart to heart.”First Lady Dr. Jill Biden
This year’s recipients include – Tony Abeyta, an Indigenous artist who combines traditional Navajo design with Contemporary Art; Sheila Hicks, who since the 1960s has been using textiles in lieu of paint on canvas; Robert Pruitt, an African-American artist who explores identity through colorful contemporary retellings of history; Hank Willis Thomas, an African-American artist, who uses humor and the arts to bridge a gap between Africa and the diaspora; and Suling Wang, a Taiwanese artist who uses abstract theory to address themes such as identity, commodity, and perspective.