Renee Fleming

Renee Fleming at a 2011 recital at the Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

President Obama is to present the National Medal of Arts to 12 recipients during a White House ceremony scheduled for Wednesday. Among the winners for 2012 are artist Ellsworth Kelly, soprano Renee Fleming, playwright Tony Kushner and Los Angeles musician and arts philanthropist Herb Alpert.

In addition, Obama is expected to award the National Humanities Medal to 12 others, including theater artist Anna Deavere Smith and photographer Camilo Jose Vergara.

Wednesday's ceremony is to take place in the East Room of the White House, with the president accompanied by First Lady Michelle Obama. 

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Kelly was the subject of an exhibition that ran at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art last year. "Ellsworth Kelly: Prints and Paintings" featured more than 100 objects created by the artist, including prints, sketches and paintings. 

He is also the subject of a show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, running through Sept. 8. Kelly turned 90 earlier this year.

The National Medal of Arts is the highest honor given to artists and arts patrons by the government.

The other recipients include "Star Wars" producer George Lucas, writer-actress Elaine May, arts patron Lin Arison, landscape architect Laurie Olin, choreographer Joan Myers Brown, author Ernest Gaines and musician Allen Toussaint.

A medal will also be awarded to the Washington Performing Arts Society, a presenter of music and dance in the nation's capital.

Last year's winners of the National Medal of Arts included Al Pacino, pianist Andre Watts and painter and printmaker Will Barnet.

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