Rock star Bruce Springsteen will receive a 2021 National Medal of Arts award from President Joe Biden at 4:30 p.m. March 21 at the White House, the National Endowment for the Arts announced March 20.
Springsteen, who was born in Long Branch and grew up in Freehold, is among 12 recipients of the award. Another 12 recipients will receive the 2021 National Humanities Medal.
“The National Medal of Arts recipients have helped to define and enrich our nation’s cultural legacy through their life long passionate commitment. We are a better nation because of their contributions,” NEA Chair Maria Rosario Jackson said in a statement. “Their work helps us see the world in different ways. It inspires us to reach our full potential and recognize our common humanity.”
The NEA is the only arts funder in the U.S. that provides access to the arts in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. jurisdictions, according to the organization.
In the announcement, the NEA said, “One of our greatest performers and storytellers, Bruce Springsteen’s music celebrates our triumphs, heals our wounds, and gives us hope, capturing the unyielding spirit of what it means to be American.”
Springsteen’s fellow award recipients include entertainers such as Mindy Kaling, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Gladys Knight, fashion designer Vera Wang as well as organizations such as The International Association of Blacks in Dance. See the complete list here.
The Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music also announced the news, saying, “The National Medal of Arts is the highest award given to artists, arts patrons, and groups by the United States Government and honors exemplary individuals and organizations that have advanced the arts in America and offered inspiration to others through their distinguished achievement, support, or patronage.”
The Bruce Springsteen Archives, located at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, houses the music and artifacts of the performer. The Center for American Music produces exhibitions and programming to promote and celebrate American music and their impact on the U.S. culture.
In October 2022, the Archives named Monmouth alumnus Robert Santelli as its first executive director to oversee the organization’s expansion."