SVA Acting Chairman Milton Glaser receives the National Medal of Arts from President Obama

School of Visual Arts (SVA) Acting Chairman and longtime faculty member Milton Glaser has received the National Medal of Arts. Glaser is one of twelve Americans to be recognized this year for their outstanding achievements and support of the arts. The medals were presented by President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama in an East Room ceremony at the White House on February 25, 2010. Glaser is the first graphic designer to receive the honor.

The National Medal of Arts is a White House initiative managed by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Each year, the NEA organizes and oversees the National Medal of Arts nomination process and notifies the artists of their selection to receive a medal, the nation’s highest honor for artistic excellence.

“These individuals and organizations show us how many ways art works every day. They represent the breadth and depth of American architecture, design, film, music, performance, theatre, and visual art,” said NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman. “This lifetime honor recognizes their exceptional contributions, and I join the President and the country in saluting them.”

The official citation reads, “Milton Glaser, for a lifetime devoted to improving the way people communicate through innovation in graphic design, and for memorable visual artifacts that challenge contemporary artists and delight all Americans.”

Milton Glaser has a five-decade association with SVA. In addition to serving as acting chairman of the board since 2007, he has been on the faculty since 1960, currently teaching in the MFA Design Department and the Division of Continuing Education. He has created many of the iconic posters produced by SVA for display on New York City subway platforms, which were the subject of a 50-year retrospective exhibition in September 2009 entitled “Milton Glaser’s SVA: A Legacy of Graphic Design.” Glaser is also responsible for the design of the SVA Theatre, a former first-run movie house located in the heart of Manhattan that hosts film screenings, lectures and other events for the enjoyment of the community as well as the College.

In addition to Glaser, this year’s medalists include: Bob Dylan, Clint Eastwood, Maya Lin, Rita Moreno, Jessye Norman, Joseph P. Riley, Jr., Frank Stella, Michael Tilson Thomas, John Williams. (Twelve medalists were announced; however two were not able to attend the ceremony. Their medals will be presented at another time.)

The official announcement is online at
Glaser’s Web site is at