MADRID – The King of Spain addressed 30 artists honored with the National Culture Awards on Monday, saying that they are “an example and an essential contribution” to social progress, and reminded them that “cultured people make a great nation.”
King Felipe VI, accompanied by Queen Letizia, delivered the awards for the year 2013 at a ceremony at the El Pardo Palace, where prominent representatives of the arts, literature and the Spanish cultural scene were gathered.
“Your works display a creativity that generously reaches all Spaniards, radiates confidence in yourselves, inspires us and puts us in a position to continue resolutely going forward,” the monarch declared.
In the ceremony’s closing speech, the Spanish head of state praised the “high fertility” of the works shown by the awardees, who contributed “to enhance the values essential to our coexistence.”
Writer Luis Goytisolo, singer Luz Casal, dancer Isabel Bayon, photographer Alberto Schommer, designer Amaya Arzuaga and bullfighter Paco Ojeda were some of the winners seated in the front row.
The National Television Award, won by the late journalist Concha Garcia Campoy, was collected by her son Lorenzo.
Felipe VI said that those artists have done their job “at a difficult time for our country,” making them an example and a “contribution” to society because “art improves us.”
The monarch emphasized the future value of art, since throughout history it “has opened the doors to a wiser and fairer world,” and, thanks to artists, “we are aware that art helps the world progress.”
After the delivery of awards in thirty categories, the Spanish Minister of Education, Culture and Sports, Jose Ignacio Wert, praised the winners for being “the living and free voice of a plural country.”
Luis Goytisolo, Luz Casal and Alberto Schommer gave speeches on behalf of the winners, with the latter praising their professions as “truly beautiful and exciting,” as well as “a way of seeing the present and taking it into the future.”
The list of winners includes architects Juan Carlos Perez, Jesus Serrano and Arsenio Sanchez; visual artist Carmen Calvo; musicians Benet Casablancas and the Arbos trio; choreographer Marcos Morau; playwright Ramon Barea and clown Tortell Poltrona.