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Joan Harris to receive the National Medal of Arts

Tue Jul 22, 2014 at 5:15 pm

By Lawrence A. Johnson

Joan Harris

Joan Harris

Joan W. Harris will receive the National Medal of Arts award, to be presented by President Barack Obama July 28, the White House announced late Tuesday.

The long-time Chicago philanthropist and patron of the arts will be presented with the National Medal of Arts in an East Room ceremony at 3 p.m. Monday. The ceremony will be streamed live at

The award is bestowed upon Harris “for supporting creative expression in Chicago and across our country. Her decades of leadership and generosity have enriched our cultural life and helped countless artists, dancers, singers, and musicians bring their talents to center stage.”

Joan Harris has been a board member for 23 distinguished arts and cultural organizations nationwide, and was the prime mover behind the Joan W. and Irving B. Harris Theater for Music and Dance, which opened in 2003. Harris continues to serve as founding member and trustee of the venue, which provides a performance base for more than three dozen companies in Chicago.

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