The Order of Arts and Letters was established in l957 to recognize eminent artists and writers, and people who have contributed significantly to furthering the arts in France and throughout the world. Previous to the creation of this Order, artists and writers could be officially recognized only through the Legion of Honor, (and that in limited numbers), or the Order of Academic Palms, if they were connected with education.

Recipients of this distinction receive a certificate from the French Minister of Culture and Communication and are entitled to wear the insignia of this order, a medal suspended from a colored ribbon of white stripes against a green background. For informal occasions, a discreet lapel pin may be worn in lieu of the medal.

American recipients of the medal of the Order of Arts and Letters include Paul Auster, Ornette Coleman, Marilyn Horne, Richard Meier, Robert Paxton, Robert Redford, and Meryl Streep.

Source: Cultural Services of the French Embassy.

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