Tom Hanks and Sting joined Lily Tomlin, singer Al Green and ballerina Patricia McBride in being awarded this year's Kennedy Center Honors for influencing American culture through the arts.

Top performers and power players from Hollywood, Broadway and Washington gathered Sunday to salute them in a gala performance. The show hosted by Stephen Colbert will be broadcast Dec. 30 on CBS.

President Barack Obama saluted the honorees Sunday at the White House before the show. During the East Room reception, Obama invoked John F. Kennedy's appreciation for the role of the arts in the nation, which helped inspire the Kennedy Center's creation as a memorial to the 35th president.