The actress, singer James Taylor, novelist Harper Lee, and a number of other significant people in art, literature and works of history were handed medals from the U.S. president.
Hollywood star Meryl Streep and singer-songwriter James Taylor have been selected to receive the U.S. government's highest arts honor by President Barack Obama. "Sophie's Choice" star Streep and Grammy winner Taylor will be joined by famed music producer Quincy Jones and "To Kill a Mockingbird" novelist Harper Lee as recipients of the White House's National Humanities Medal and National Medal of Arts.
Pianist Van Cliburn and author Joyce Carol Oates are also among the 20 luminaries selected to receive a medal from Obama at the White House ceremony on Wednesday, March 2.
"I think what's true for me is true for everyone here and true for our country," Obama said during the occasion. "The fact is that works of art, literature, works of history, they speak to our condition and they affirm our desire for something more and something better."