White House announces award recipients

WASHINGTON, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- President George W. and Laura Bush presented the 2003 National Medal of Arts Wednesday at a ceremony inside the Oval Office.

The 2003 winners of the medal are:


--Mac Christensen, president of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, accepting on behalf of the choir;

--Beverly Cleary, author of numerous children's books including Ramona the Pest and Henry Huggins;

--Rafe Esquith, an arts educator and fifth grade teacher from Los Angeles;

--Dancer Suzanne Farrell;

--Blues great Buddy Guy;

--Actor and director Ron Howard;

--National Symphony Conductor Leonard Slatkin, who accepted on behalf of the NSO;

--Evan Andrew Smith, the chairman of the board of the public television station in Austin, Texas for its program, "Austin City Limits;"

--Singer, songwriter George Strait, and

--Director, actor, dancer and choreographer Tommy Tune.

The awards are given annually by the president's committee on the arts and humanities of which first lady Laura Bush is the honorary chairman.

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