Hunter College’s Roy DeCarava was awarded the prestigious 2006 National Medal of Arts by President Bush at the White House on November 9. DeCarava, a Distinguished Professor of Art at Hunter, has devoted more than 60 years to an extraordinary career as a master photographer and a pioneer in the art of photography.
During a presentation ceremony in the Oval Office with the President and First Lady Laura Bush, DeCarava — a member of the Hunter faculty since 1975 — was hailed for a lifetime of inspiring contributions to the arts. “In the midst of the Civil Rights movement, his revealing work seized the attention of our nation while displaying the dignity and determination of his subjects,” DeCarava’s citation read.
Living and working primarily in New York City, DeCarava has been widely praised as the first photographer “to devote serious attention…to the black experience in America” and for the affection for the people and places of his hometown of New York which are so evident in his work.
DeCarava has been the subject of 15 solo exhibitions. His work is in collections at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.; the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston; and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. He was also the first African American photographer to win a Guggenheim Fellowship.
The Medal of Arts is awarded each year by the National Endowment for the Arts to recognize individuals for their excellence and contributions to the arts in