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NEA reaches out with live webcast of its next advisory council meeting

March 24, 2010 |  6:00 am

Roccoorange National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Rocco Landesman was in L.A. this month as part of a six-month Art Works tour in which he is trying to see how art works in communities across the country.

Now, Landesman is back in Washington, D.C., and if you want to find out what he thought of his trip, log on Friday and watch a live webcast of the next meeting of the NEA's advisory body, the National Council on the Arts. (The proceedings start at 9 a.m. in the East, which means 6 out here, so you may need to set your alarm. Go to and select the Art Works blog.)

The council's sessions are open to the public, but this will be the first one that is viewable online. The  webcast as well as Landesman's cross-country travels are part of an effort to "connect the NEA with Americans wherever they are," says an agency spokeswoman.

During the meeting, scheduled to last just under two hours, Landesman will swear in the council's newest member, Irvin Mayfield, the New Orleans jazz musician and composer. A brief update on the agency's budget will follow. Then the NEA will pay tribute to the late Bess Lomax Hawes, who as its director of folk and traditional arts launched the National Heritage Fellowships program, which honors master artists.

The council also will hear an overview of results from the agency's 2008 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, which includes a look at how arts groups and the media are using data from the nation's largest periodic study of adults' arts activities.

Landesman will conclude the presentations with an update on Art Works and his attempts to promote the arts as vital to both America's creative and economic health. His travels, which began in Peoria, Ill., last fall have included 12 cities.

The National Council on the Arts meets three times a year to vote on funding recommendations for grants and to advise the chairman on grant guidelines and budget, policy and planning matters. The group, which has 14 members and six ex-officio members from Congress, also makes recommendations to the President on nominees for the National Medal of Arts.

--Karen Wada

Above: Cynthia Harnisch, left, led Rocco Landesman, chairman of the NEA, second from left, and his wife, Debby, on a tour of Inner-City Arts during Landesman's recent visit to Los Angeles. Credit: Christina House / For The Times.