Debbie Blunden-Diggs, artistic director of Dayton Contemporary Dance Company (DCDC), represented the International Association of Blacks in Dance (IABD) at the White House on March 21. The IABD was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Biden.
DCDC was one of the five dance organizations that founded IABD. The group was officially formalized at its 1991 conference hosted in Dayton by DCDC. Blunden-Diggs serves on the IABD executive board.
The National Medal of Arts is the highest award given to artists and arts patrons by the federal government. It is awarded by the president of the United States to individuals or groups who are deserving of special recognition by reason of their outstanding contributions to the excellence, growth, support, and availability of the arts in the United States.
“The National Medal of Arts recipients have helped to define and enrich our nation’s cultural legacy through their life long passionate commitment,” said National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chair Maria Rosario Jackson, in a press release. “We are a better nation because of their contributions. Their work helps us see the world in different ways. It inspires us to reach our full potential and recognize our common humanity. I join the President in congratulating and thanking them.”
The IABD was recognized as follows: “Through teaching, training, and performance, The International Association of Blacks in Dance promotes dance by people of African ancestry and origin, explores and exchanges art, spans cultures and generations, and enriches the dance culture of America.”
This year’s list of recipients includes Jose Feliciano, Mindy Kaling, Gladys Knight, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Bruce Springsteen and Vera Wang.
The ceremony was held in the East Room of the White House.
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