Sunday, October 4, 2015

NEA 50TH ANNIVERSARY - September 29, 2015

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the National Endowment for the Arts' 50th Anniversary Celebration in Washington, DC.  Chairman of the Commission, Charles Stanhope, accompanied me on this occasion.  The official anniversary date for the NEA and its sister organization, the National Endowment for the Humanities, was September 29.  

The day began with a panel of past and the current Chairs of the NEA which was moderated by PBS Newshour`s Judy Woodruff.  The former Chairs in attendance were Frank Hodsoll, Jane Alexander, Bill Ivey (who will be our keynote at our 50th Anniversary Celebration on November 5 at Point Lookout), and Rocco Landesman - and they were joined by current Chair Jane Chu.  It was an interesting discussion around past wins and future dreams for the NEA.  Rocco Landesman voiced the controversy for the day when he declared that the NEA shouldn`t give 40% of its funding to state arts agencies.  Needless-to-say this provided great fodder for conversation among my colleagues throughout the day.  

Charles and I attended the Open House at the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies offices in the mid-afternoon.  They recently moved to new digs and this was our first opportunity to see their impressive new space.

The highlight of the day was the reception and dinner following at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.  Congresswoman Chellie Pingree and two of her staff were present as was former Maine Arts Commission Member, Felicia Knight.  New England was represented well with Alex Aldrich, Vermont Arts Council; Randy Rosenbaum, Rhode Island Council on the Arts; and Cathy Edwards and Larry Simpson, New England  Foundation on the Arts in attendance.  There were several presentations and performances that truly reminded us how privileged we are to be working in and on behalf of the arts.

- Julie

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, Chair Charles Stanhope and me
Chairman of the NEA, Jane Chu and former Chair, Bill Ivey