NEA’s new chairman seems to be moving cautiously

Posted on: August 26, 2009

In Wednesday’s (8/26) Washington Post, Jacqueline Trescott writes, “In the mid-1990s, Rocco Landesman made it a point to carry $10,000 in cash on him at all times, just in case a betting opportunity presented itself. Cellphones and ATMs have eliminated the need for what even Landesman would admit was a dangerous practice, but don’t get the idea he’s stopped betting. In fact, on Aug. 7 the legendary Broadway producer made what might be the biggest bet of his career, becoming the 10th chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. Perhaps it’s the momentousness of the task at hand, or maybe it’s trepidation in a new environment, but Landesman—somewhat uncharacteristically—is proceeding cautiously. … As he moves into his third week on the job, Landesman’s talking points are firm: The arts are central to the American identity; they define the pulse of many cities, towns and individuals. In short, the arts are indispensable. … And while Landesman is treading lightly for the moment, he is an unabashed hawk on the issue of money; increased funding, he said, is one of the barriers the NEA needs to overcome if it intends to once more lead the country’s sprawling network of artists and arts organizations.”

Posted August 26, 2009