The former secretary of state and US senator made her first public visit to the White House in six years for the 2023 Praemium Imperiale Laureates event.
“This is such a great honour for me to be here,” she said in her East Room remarks, according to CNN.
She was joined by first lady Jill Biden, who said in her remarks: “It’s an honour to welcome you back to the White House.”
The comment prompted extended applause from the audience.
“Wow, you are so loved,” Dr Biden noted.
Ms Clinton introduced the winners and handed diplomas to young artists.
“At times when so much is happening to change the ways that we work and live, it’s so important for us to recognise the critical role that the arts play in helping us understand our past and present while inspiring us to create a better future,” she said.
Her husband, then-President Bill Clinton, became the first to host the Praemium Imperiale Laureates at the White House in 1994.
Ms Clinton said being back for this year’s event allowed her to remember “a lot of great memories”.
The 2016 Democratic presidential nominee won the popular vote but lost the Electoral College to former President Donald Trump that year.
After Mr Trump was indicted by a grand jury in Georgia for attempting to overturn the 2020 election results in the state, Ms Clinton appeared on MSNBC, saying: “Well, it’s hard to believe, I don’t feel any satisfaction.”
“I feel great, you know, just great profound sadness that we have a former president who has been indicted for so many charges that went right to the heart of whether or not our democracy would survive,” she added. “The only satisfaction may be that the system is working. That all of the efforts by Donald Trump, his allies, and his enablers to try to silence the truth to try to undermine democracy have been brought into the light and justice is being pursued.”
On Tuesday during her White House remarks, Ms Clinton lauded the Biden administration for resurrecting the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, which shut down in 2017 when its members resigned over Mr Trump’s handling of the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where one protester died.
“The arts invigorate and strengthen our democracy and point the way toward progress,” Ms Clinton told the audience on Tuesday.
Ms Clinton initially returned to the White House in July 2021 for a dinner for the outgoing Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel, an event that was closed to the public.
Mr Clinton visited the executive mansion in February of this year to mark 30 years since the passing of the Family and Medical Leave Act.