Since 1984, the National Medal of Arts has been the nation's highest honor for artistic excellence. In an awards ceremony at the White House yesterday, the 2009 recipients were announced and presented the award by President Barack Obama. (Twelve medalists were announced, but two were unable to attend.) The winners—including artist and architect Maya Lin and Mayors' Institute on City Design founder Joseph Riley Jr.—"represent the breadth and depth of American architecture, design, film, music, performance, theatre, and visual art," said National Endowment for the Arts chairman Rocco Landesman in a statement.

Bob Dylan, singer and songwriter*
Clint Eastwood, director and actor*
Milton Glaser, graphic designer
Maya Lin, artist and designer
Rita Moreno, singer, dancer, and actress
Jessye Norman, soprano
Joseph P. Riley Jr., arts patron and design advocate
Frank Stella, painter and sculptor
Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor
John Williams, composer and conductor
*Unable to attend.

Established by Congress, the National Medal of Arts is awarded by the president and managed by the National Endowment for the Arts. Visit the NEA website for more information on all of the winners.