Denise Saunders Thompson (Courtesy of
Denise Saunders Thompson (Courtesy of

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Denise Saunders Thompson, the associate dean of administration at Howard University’s Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts, was presented with the 2021 United States Government’s National Medal of Arts award by President Biden.

Thompson received the award Tuesday on behalf of the International Association of Blacks in Dance during a ceremony at the White House, which had been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The National Medal of the Arts is the highest award given to artists, arts patrons and groups.

“Receiving this National Medal of Arts award is a significant milestone in the history of this organization,” Thompson said. “It acknowledges the work, years of dedication by so many and endless contributions of Black people in dance. This award from President Biden and the National Endowment for the Arts is so incredibly gratifying. It gives me more encouragement, hope and drive to continue the journey of moving forward. I am so honored.”

Thompson serves as the president and CEO of IABD, an organization created to preserve and promote dance by people of African origin in concert with promoting the interests of artists through advocacy, audience development, education, funding, networking, performance, philosophical dialogue and touring.

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