... Renée Fleming "for her contributions to American music. Known to many as 'the people’s diva,' Ms. Fleming has captivated audiences around the world with an adventurous repertoire spanning opera and the classical tradition to jazz and contemporary pop." 

Reneeflemingmedal

...Renée Fleming "for her contributions to American music. Known to many as 'the people’s diva,' Ms. Fleming has captivated audiences around the world with an adventurous repertoire spanning opera and the classical tradition to jazz and contemporary pop," announced the White House this afternoon, when President Barack Obama honored Lyric's creative consultant with a National Medal of Arts citation in the East Room. First Lady Michelle Obama also attended.

The National Medal of Arts is the United States Government's highest award to artists and arts patrons. Ms. Fleming was nominated by the American public and ratified by the National Council of the Arts.

Eleven others, including filmmaker George Lucas, musician Allen Toussaint, playwright Tony Kushner, and painter Ellsworth Kelly, were awarded the 2012 citation. A further twelve, including author Joan Didion and poet Kay Ryan, were awarded the sister citation of National Humanities Medal in this afternoon's ceremony, which you can watch in full below. (Renée is honored at 14:09.)