James Taylor, Robert Brustein among White House honorees

James Taylor, Robert Brustein among White House honorees

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Singer and songwriter James Taylor receives the 2010 National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama at an East Room ceremony at the White House on March 2. Managed by the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Medal of Arts is the highest award given to artists and arts patrons by the United States Government. — Photo by Ruth David, NEA

On Wednesday afternoon, President Barack Obama awarded the 2010 National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal to 20 honorees in the East Room. The recipients included seasonal Chilmark resident James Taylor “for his remarkable contributions to American music.”

A White House press release said, “His distinctive voice and masterful guitar playing are among the most recognized in popular music and his expansive catalogue of songs has had a profound influence on songwriters and music lovers from all walks of life.”

At the same event, President Obama presented the Medal of Arts to Robert Brustein, Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Suffolk University. Mr. Brustein lives in West Tisbury,

The citation accompanying the award said, “Robert Brustein for his contributions to the American theater as a critic, producer, playwright, and educator. As founder of the Yale Repertory Theatre and the American Repertory Theatre and Institute and as the theatre critic for The New Republic since 1959, Mr. Brustein has been a leading force in the development of theater and theater artists in the United States.”