Obama appoints painter, novelist and four non-artists to advisory committe on arts and humanities
President Obama has picked six people to join the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanties; two of them, painter-photographer Chuck Close and Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and short-story writer Jhumpa Lahiri, will become the first visual artist and writer on an advisory panel weighted with actors and business people.
The other new appointees are entertainment executives and arts patrons.
They are: Sheila Johnson, a co-founder of Black Entertainment Television who now owns the Washington Mystics of the Women’s National Basketball Assn. and is a trained violinist; Ken Solomon, chairman of the arts-oriented Ovation TV cable network and chief executive of the Santa Monica-based Tennis Channel; Pamela Joyner, a San Francisco arts philanthropist; and Fred Goldring, a Beverly Hills-based music business lawyer and former board chairman of Rock the Vote.
The committee's website says its purpose is to "initiate and support" programs of the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and to encourage private-public partnerships in the arts and culture.
Its co-chairs are film producer George Stevens Jr. and Broadway producer Margo Lion, both Obama appointees, along with the vice-chair, Mary Schmidt Campbell, dean of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.
The other artists on the panel are actors Edward Norton, Alfre Woodard, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kerry Washington and Forest Whitaker, L.A. architect Thom Mayne, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and dancer Damian Woetzel.
-- Mike Boehm
Photos: Left, Chuck Close self portrait; Jhumpa Lahiri. Credits: Chuck Close/Courtesy the Polaroid Collection; Carlos Chavez/Los Angeles Times