Jeffrey Katzenberg to Receive National Arts Medal

Jeffrey Katzenberg
Jeffrey Katzenberg
 AP Images

Jeffrey Katzenberg, DreamWorks Animation CEO and one of President Barack Obama's biggest donors, is among the recipients of the National Medal of Arts for 2013, the White House and the National Endowment for the Arts announced on Tuesday.

Katzenberg is the first executive who is not a filmmaker to receive the honor. Star Wars director George Lucas was a recipient last year.

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"Whether its animation or architecture, writing or music, these artists' creativity and passion have made an enormous impact on our nation. I join the president in congratulating them and celebrating the arts in our country," said NEA chairman Jane Chu.

Having helped to raise at least $7 million in the 2008 and 2012 campaigns, Katzenberg also personally donated $3 million to Priorities USA Action, an independent expenditure PAC that supported Obama's re-election.

"Jeffrey Katzenberg is recognized for lighting up our screens and opening our hearts through animation and cinema," stated an introductory bio that accompanied the announcement. "Mr. Katzenberg has embraced new technology to develop the art of storytelling and transform the way we experience film."

Other recipients of the 2013 National Medal of Arts include visual artist James Turrell, musician Linda Ronstadt, documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles, choreographer Bill T. Jones, author Maxine Hong Kingston and novelist/poet Julia Alvarez.

The medals ceremony will take place Monday, July 28, at 12 p.m. PT/3 p.m. ET, in the East Room at the White House, and will be live-streamed at WH.gov/Live. First lady Michelle Obama will also be in attendance.

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