Monday, August 10, 2009

Former Colby Student Named as Chair of The National Endowment for the Arts

Broadway producer Rocco Landesman has been confirmed by the United States Senate to serve as the new chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in Washington D.C.

Landesman, who received his undergraduate education at Colby College in Maine, and received the degree of Doctor of Fine Arts, honoris causa from Colby in 2005, will begin work at the NEA this week.

At the age of 62, Landesman comes to the NEA with a wealth of knowledge and experience, not to mention his impressive theater résumé and string of Tony Awards. During his decades on the Great White Way, he produced some of Broadway's most successful shows, including Angels in America, The Full Monty, Big River and The Producers (made famous when he instituted a record ticket price of $480). He has also spent over 20 years as president of Jujamcyn Theaters, New York’s third largest theater owner.

Bob Lynch, chairman of Americans for the Arts, noted, “Landesman embarks as chair of the nation's arts agency with a robust agenda, an upward trajectory of funding, broad Congressional approval, and a White House committed to attracting national attention to the value of the arts and integrating them into broader domestic policies."

Upon his nomination, Mr. Landesman said, "I am honored to receive the Senate's vote of confirmation. I look forward to serving the nation as Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. I believe this is an auspicious time for the NEA and the country. Art is essential to the civic, economic, and cultural vitality of our nation. It reflects who we are and what we stand for -- freedom of expression, imagination, and vision. I am eager to work with our many partners to bring quality arts programs to neighborhoods and communities across the country."

Landesman is a person who likes to speak his mind, and he comes to the NEA with a reputation of shaking things up.

Speaking with Damon Winter from the New York Times on Friday, Mr. Landesman said he was eager to get to work, which he planned to do on Tuesday. “It’s a daunting thing,” he said. “This historically has not been a great job — or not for a long time — and the challenge will be to make it one and to really accomplish something. There hasn’t been the financial commitment.

“It’s not easy in this climate with scarce dollars,” he said. “On the other hand, there’s a crisis among arts institutions because so many of them are going out of business or about to – it’s an emergency. Even the pathetic N.E.A. levels of funding will matter to a lot of these institutions and that funding needs to increase.”

Photo: Robin Pogrebin

5 comments:

David said...

This is great news for the Performing Arts. Let's hope he can do for them what Dana Gioia did for the Literary Arts.

Elenka said...

Colby Student! Congratulations.

Christena said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

-------

___________________
christena
Email Marketing Solutions

Maine Arts Commission said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dyana said...

very interesting.....
Good post.....
Great blog.....
Every one should read this once.....
Thanks for sharing.....
___________________
Dyanadevis
Online Marketing of your brand