Based on the National Medal of Arts program and inaugurated by the Raleigh Arts Commission in 1984, the Raleigh Medal of Arts is awarded for transformative, imaginative, and innovative achievement in the practice or support of the local arts. The award is the City’s highest arts honor and has been awarded 164 times in the past 37 years.
In 2022, the program’s guidelines, eligibility, and evaluation criteria were revised in addition to an increase in the variety of nominations and the creation of award categories. The award now better reflects the demographics of Raleigh and Wake County, a goal laid out in the City’s strategic arts plan.
- Community Arts
- Youth Arts
- Belonging in the Arts
- Creativity & Innovation
- Public Art & Creative Placemaking
- Leadership in the Arts
- Raising Awareness of the Arts
- Funding & Philanthropy
Awards are made based on merit, as determined by the selection criteria. Awards are not necessarily made in every category, nor are there a predetermined number of awards in a category in any given year.