The American Academy of Arts and Letters announced the recipients of its highest honors for excellence in the arts on March 26, 2021. Yehudi Wyner was awarded the the Gold Medal for Music. Given each year in two rotating categories of the arts, the Gold Medal is awarded to those who have achieved eminence in an entire body of work. Rita Dove received the Gold Medal for Poetry. The Academy honored artist and writer Phong Bui for his significant contribution to the arts with its Award for Distinguished Service to the Arts. The recipients were chosen by the members of the Academy.
The American Academy of Arts and Letters was founded in 1898 as an honor society of America’s leading architects, artists, composers, and writers. Early members include William Merritt Chase, Childe Hassam, Julia Ward Howe, Henry James, Edward MacDowell, Theodore Roosevelt, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, John Singer Sargent, Mark Twain, and Edith Wharton. The Academy’s 300 members are elected for life and pay no dues.
The Academy seeks to foster and sustain an interest in Literature, Music, and the Fine Arts by administering over 70 awards and prizes, exhibiting art and manuscripts, funding performances of new works of musical theater, and purchasing artwork for donation to museums across the USA.
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