Art Works Blog

Recap of 170th Meeting of NEA's National Council on the Arts

Washington, DC

Our offices are located at 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, in Washington, DC in the Old Post Office Building, also known as the Nancy Hanks Center in honor of the agency's second chair who spearheaded the fight to find us a permanent home. NEA file photo

Bright and early this morning, Rocco called to order the 170th meeting of the National Council on the Arts. We had nearly a full house of council members present: Jim Ballinger, Ben Donenberg, JoAnn Falletta, Lee Greenwood, Joan Israelite, Charlotte Kessler, Bret Lott, Irvin Mayfield, Stephen Porter, Barbara Ernst Prey, and Frank Price. The Chairman kicked off the meeting by introducing our newest discipline director Jason Schupbach, who's heading up Design. (You can check out our Art Works Q&A with Jason here.) As Rocco said, "Jason brings an impressive resume of work supporting the creative economy and creative placemaking. . . . and he's a really great guy!"

Next on deck was Research director Sunil Iyengar who presented on our most recent report: Audience 2.0: How Technology Influences Arts Participation. (Not only are we very excited about the findings but we're excited because this is our first truly "online" research report. Check it out here.) Here are some of the key points from Sunil's presentation:

More than half of U.S. adults (approx 118 million) participated in the arts through electronic and digital media.

For many Americans---primarily older Americans, rural residents, and racial/ethnic minority groups--- electronic media is the only way they participate in ?benchmark? arts events.

Media-based arts participation appears to encourage---rather than replace---other types of arts participation

Rocco then announced the 18 master artists that are receiving NEA Lifetime Honors this year. The new NEA Jazz Masters are Orrin Keepnews, Hubert Laws, David Liebman, Johnny Mandel---and in a first for the agency---a group award to the Marsalis family: Ellis, Jr., Branford, Delfeayo, Jason, and Wynton. The new NEA National Heritage Fellows are Yacub Addy, Jim "Texas Shorty" Chancellor, Gladys Kukana Grace, Mary Jackson, "Del" Floyd McCoury, Judith McCulloh, Kamala Lakshmi, Mike Rafferty, and Ezekiel Torres. Rounding out the list are Opera Honors recipients Martina Arroyo, David DiChiera, Philip Glass, and Eve Queler. Visit the News Room to read the complete awards announcement and learn more about the honorees.

On Memorial Day, in partnership with Blue Star Families, we launched the Blue Star Museums program, which gives free museum admission to active duty military families through Labor Day. To date, we have more than 800 museums participating. Kathy Roth Douquet, who heads Blue Star Families, gave a heartfelt presentation on the value of the arts to military families. Noting that military families can feel isolated, Douquet said, "Arts are the unifying experience of what it means to be an American; they tie us to the normal experience of our country." She added, "We would love to see Blue Star Museums become a permanent part of the battle rhythm of military life."

Douquet was joined by Colonel Rivers J. Johnson, Jr. who is the division chief for Army Community Relations. Rivers started his remarks by noting that he has Macbeth on his iPod and listens to it often. He thanked the NEA and Blue Star Families for the program, promising to " carry the water for you on this endeavor. I do pledge my support."  Expounding on the importance of the program he said, "What Blue Star Museums provides is a treasure trove of exhibits. . . and dreams." He closed his remarks by promising to "friend" the NEA on our new Facebook page.

To close the meeting, the council voted on 35 National Leadership Initiative award recommendations and 20 Literature Fellowships in Translation. All recommendations for funding were passed. Those grants will be publicly announced in coming weeks.

The next public meeting of the National Council on the Arts will take place Friday, October 29. Keep an eye on the News Room and the blog for details closer to the date. Don't forget to follow us on Twitter (@NEAarts) and search the hashtag #neacouncil for more commentary on this morning's meeting.

Add new comment