The New NEA Chair

We trust you've been making your usual visits to the greatest local arts blogs, and have seen Mead's Blogorrhea post that Broadway producer Rocco Landesman has been nominated as the next chairman for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). As Mead pointed out, this could be really great news for the theater community especially.

The only thing I want to contribute to that conversation is that Americans for the Arts has posted a blog entry asking people what Mr. Landesman's first priority should be as the new Chair. Wouldn't it be great to have some of our local perspectives represented in this national conversation that I know the NEA will be watching? (Speak intelligently, people.) You might also find the AFTA blog to be worthy of your bookmarking button.

I'd also like to recognize Patrice Walker Powell -- a wonderful friend to state and local arts agencies -- who has been the acting Chair since Obama came into office. She handled all of the NEA-related economic stimulus efforts and should be congratulated for her good work even though many of us didn't care for the limitations that the federal budget office placed on those dollar. (Chief among these limitations was the rule that organizations without an NEA relationship could not apply for stimulus funds. To expedite the discovery process, the federal government determined that only organizations that had received an NEA grant in the past five years would be be eligible for these funds.) The Oregon Arts Commission received $307,000 of these funds (which will be regranted to organizations but you have to submit your application today), and I suspect many local arts organizations will be on the list to receive job recovery grants when the NEA announces those awards next month.

But back to the matter at hand. Let's advise the NEA what they should be focusing on this year.

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