Here’s some exciting news: Ollie Johnston is headed to Washington DC tomorrow with his family, Roy Disney and Howard Green for a Thursday ceremony at the White House. He is the first animator to ever receive the National Medal of the Arts Award. Here’s the officicial government press release:

President George W. Bush today announced the recipients of the 2005 National Medal of Arts. Ten medals will be presented by the President and Mrs. Laura Bush in an Oval Office ceremony at the White House on November 10. The National Endowment for the Arts notified the artists of their selection to receive a National Medal of Arts, the nation’s highest honor for artistic excellence.”These individuals and organization have all made significant and enduring contributions to the artistic life of our nation,” said National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Dana Gioia. “Whether through pioneering film animation, writing memorable novels, championing jazz, or creating new dance styles, their work has transformed the ways we experience and appreciate the world.”

Other recipients to be honored on Thursday include actor Robert Duvall, musician Wynton Marsalis, and singer Dolly Parton.