With his first humanities medals Trump honors a Texan, and some downmarket favorites

Teresa Lozano Long is a worthy pick.

We’ll give credit to the White House’s recipients of the National Medal of the Arts and the National Humanities Medal this year. The group received awards Nov. 21 and reads like a pop-culture playlist for the most populist American president in recent history. Winners are those who have written the most books, sold the most records, and starred in the most movies involving guns and American flags — perfect fit for a president whose relationship to arts and humanities has been, shall we say, not always reciprocated.

Here’s the list:

  • Alison Krauss
  • Sharon Percy Rockefeller
  • The Musicians of the United States Military
  • Jon Voight
  • The Claremont Institute
  • Teresa Lozano Long
  • Patrick J. O’Connell
  • James Patterson

This is the first time President Donald Trump has awarded the medals. Previous presidents named about a dozen Americans in each category each year. The last batch of honorees, recognized by Barack Obama in 2016, included Pulitzer prize-winning biographer Ron Chernow, novelist Sandra Cisneros and jazz musician Wynton Marsalis.

We’re not exactly art snobs. We enjoyed National Treasure as much as the next guy. And we wish we could sing like Krauss or write like Patterson. But we also think it’s worth noting that this crop of artists reflects the mass-market appeal of this president.

There is one name on the list that stood out to us, however: a Texan known for her generosity. Teresa Lozano Long and her husband Joe have been exemplary patrons of education and the arts. In 1999, they founded the Long Foundation, which supports programs that help children and young adults “improve their economic and social potential” through literacy, performing arts, college prep and other educational opportunities. In 2000, the couple pledged $10 million that created the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies at the University of Texas, which promotes, among other things, cultural exchanges with Latin American countries. Another of their donations led the way to the creation of the Long Center for the Performing Arts in Austin.

Teresa is the daughter of a South Texas dairy farmer. Her parents emphasized the importance of education. She is the first Hispanic woman to earn a doctorate in health and physical education at UT. And now her generosity has made education possible for hundreds of young Texans.

Long is a worthy selection for the National Humanities Medal. Even if we likely wouldn’t have voted for the other downmarket favorites on the president’s list, picking her elevated his selection. Congrats on the pick and congrats to Long.

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Dallas Morning News Editorial. Dallas Morning News editorials are written by the paper's Editorial Board and serve as the voice and view of the paper. The board considers a broad range of topics and is overseen by the Editor of Editorials.

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