President Joe Biden has announced the appointment of a star-studded list of members to an arts advisory board, which was dissolved during Trump’s presidential tenure.
Lady Gaga and George Clooney among those appointed
Among the 24 entertainers and academics chosen to be part of the committee are Lady Gaga, Shonda Rhimes, and George Clooney, who will join as advisors on cultural policy and co-chair the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.
The committee, initially created by President Ronald Reagan in 1982, allows artists and academics to provide advice to government leaders on programs to support arts and culture.
In the past, it has been involved in organizing the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards and establishing the Kennedy Center’s Turnaround Arts program, which provides arts education services to low-income schools nationwide.
However, several committee members resigned during the Trump administration, and the remaining members stepped down after then-President Trump failed to condemn a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville.
In an open letter to Trump, the remaining committee members expressed their disagreement with his words and actions and called for his resignation. Trump responded by stating that he had planned to dissolve the committee anyway.
Arts and Humanities ‘essential to well-being’
In September last year, President Biden issued an executive order to reinstate the committee, calling arts and humanities “essential to the well-being, health, vitality, and democracy of our Nation.”
Tsione Wolde-Michael, the committee’s executive director, highlighted the significance of the committee’s revival in the current context, stating, “What the committee is about is how the arts and humanities can really be a vehicle for positive social change.”
The committee aims to harness the power of arts and humanities to address pressing societal issues and promote positive transformation.
In addition to the prominent entertainers appointed to the committee, some academics, such as Berkeley City College President Angélica Garcia, will serve alongside them.
In a statement, Garcia emphasized the role of community colleges in fostering cultural centers and providing access to arts, humanities, and libraries, particularly for diverse communities, stating that community colleges like hers “are anchors of democracy that often serve as the cultural centers of diverse communities, in many cases being the only spaces where the arts, humanities, and libraries are accessible.”
The reassembling of the committee under the Biden administration reflects a renewed commitment to promoting the arts and humanities as essential components of the nation’s well-being and democracy.
With the inclusion of notable entertainers and academics, the committee aims to leverage their expertise and experiences to advance cultural policy and drive positive social change through the arts and humanities.
As Lady Gaga, Shonda Rhimes, George Clooney, and other committee members take on their roles, their “serious commitment to the arts and humanities,” as stated by the White House, will be instrumental in shaping the committee’s vision and initiatives.
It is hoped that the revival of the committee will bring renewed attention to the value of arts and humanities in society and contribute to the promotion of arts and culture across the nation.
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