Milton Glaser Receives the 2009 National Medal of Arts.

March 1st, 2010

I was on The Daily Heller and read the most exciting news: Milton Glaser was one of twelve to receive the 2009 National Medal of honor for their outstanding achievements and support of the arts.It is the first time EVER that a graphic designer has been recognized and is proof of the importance and influence that graphic design has in our culture.

Milton Glaser accepting the award from President Obama.

I had the great fortune to meet Milton Glaser and have a 30 minute conversation with him at the AIGA National Conference in Vegas in the early 90’s (next to a roulette table) We talked about print making and and how much we loved the process; and how the multi-step process of printmaking helps us think through design execution in a more holistic manner. He was very down to earth, humble, engaging and his wisdom overwhelmed me. Some of the work that you might recognize: the iconic “I <heart> NY” – which, fascinatingly, was designed in the back of a cab after he’d already submitted his first logo to the New York State Commerce Department. He of all people is so deserving of this award.

Here is the article in full. enjoy! And do look up his work. It is pretty incredible.

“I wish my mother was alive to see this,” Milton Glaser told me about receiving the 2009 National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama last Thursday (the first time for a graphic designer). He was one of twelve to receive the honor for their outstanding achievements and support of the arts. The medals were presented by the president and Mrs. Michele Obama in an East Room ceremony at the White House.

The National Medal of Arts is a White House initiative managed by the National Endowment for the Arts. Each year, the NEA organizes and oversees the National Medal of Arts nomination process and notifies the artists of their selection to receive a medal, the nation’s highest honor for artistic excellence.

“These individuals and organizations show us how many ways art works every day. They represent the breadth and depth of American architecture, design, film, music, performance, theatre, and visual art, ” said NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman. “This lifetime honor recognizes their exceptional contributions, and I join the President and the country in saluting them.”

See full event here on White House video.

In addition to Glaser the recipients include Bob Dylan, Clint Eastwood, Maya Lin, Rita Moreno, Jessye Norman, Joseph P. Riley, Jr., Frank Stella, Michael Tilson Thomas, and John Williams. Sadly Dylan could not attend, thus making the inevitable photo op between the poster maker and the poster subject impossible.

Bob Dylan art poster designed by Milton Glaser.