Hank Willis Thomas. Image: courtesy Associated Press


Hank Willis Thomas Honored with 2023 Medal of Arts Award

Published Thursday, Sep 14, 2023

On September 13, the U.S Department of State’s Office of Art in Embassies honored Tony Abeyta, Sheila Hicks, Robert Pruitt, Hank Willis Thomas, and Suling Wang with the 2023 U.S. Department of State Medal of Arts. First Lady Dr. Jill Biden presented the medals at a White House ceremony.

The Medal of Arts award was created by Art in Embassies in 2012, in partnership with the Secretary of State, to formally acknowledge artists who have played an exemplary role in advancing the U.S. Department of State’s mission to promote cultural diplomacy. Their achievements represent those of thousands of artists who make art diplomacy possible at U.S. embassies around the world. Art serves as a bridge with other nations, encourages discussion and expression, and highlights the communal experience of people from countries, cultures, and backgrounds worldwide.

Previous Medal of Arts recipients include: Jeff Koons (2012), Sam Gilliam (2015), Maya Lin (2015), and Jenny Holzer (2017).

“This year’s honorees, like those before them, selflessly offer their creative talents to the mission of American cultural diplomacy,” said Megan Beyer, Director of Art in Embassies. “Artworks on display in embassies and residences are potent soft power tools of diplomacy.”

(opens in a new window) Learn more at the Art in Embassies's website.

  • News — Hank Willis Thomas Honored with 2023 Medal of Arts Award, Sep 14, 2023