On Monday, July 28, President Barack Obama will present the National Medal of Arts to esteemed artists and art patrons, and Dominican author and poet Julia Alvarez will be among them!
The medal—designed by Robert Graham, and awarded to individuals for their outstanding contributions to the excellence, growth, support and availability of the arts in the United States—will be presented to the Dominican writer for her “extraordinary storytelling,” according to the press release posted on the website for the National Endowment for the Arts. It also notes that “Ms. Alvarez explores themes of identity, family and cultural divides. She illustrates the complexity of navigating two worlds and reveals the human capacity for strength in the face of oppression.”
Such themes can be found in Alvarez’ work on titles such as, How The García Girls Lost Their Accents, In the Name of Salomé, Once Upon A Quinceañera and In the Time of the Butterflies. The latter tells the real life story of the Dominican revolutionary Mirabal sisters who were brutally murdered on November 25, 1960 when they stood up to the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo. The story was later made into a film of the same title starring Salma Hayek, Edward James Olmos and Marc Anthony.
Also said to be present for the ceremony is First Lady Michelle Obama. According to the Burlington Press, Alvarez will bring books for the Obamas as a token of her appreciation. She was quoted as saying, “What do I give them? Books.”
Other artists and art patrons who will be presented the National Medal of Arts include: dancer and choreographer, Bill T. Jones, musical theater composer, John Kander, director and CEO of DreamWorks, Jeffrey Katzenberg, writer, Maxine Hong Kingston, documentary filmmaker, Albert Maysles, musician, Linda Ronstadt, architects Billie Tsien and Tod Williams, visual artist, James Turrell and the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
The ceremony will be live streamed at 3 p.m. ET via WH.gov/Live.