NEA head Landesman reports back after national tour

Posted on: March 30, 2010

In Saturday’s (3/27) Washington Post, Jacqueline Trescott writes, “On Friday morning, National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Rocco Landesman was not jetting from city to town observing the country’s arts machinery, but sitting in the agency’s conference room reporting back. ‘Last week, I was in California, and I learned that nonprofit arts organizations there have annual revenues of $2.4 billion, which is roughly equivalent to the revenues of California’s convenience stores. That is significant,’ said a smiling Landesman. ‘But arts workers make more than Slurpees, they make places.’ The arts, Landesman said, help ‘change the ethos of a town or community. They enliven it, they activate the public life.’ With wit, amazement and solemnity, as arts organizations face a painful struggle during economic uncertainty, Landesman made his first report to the National Council on the Arts. That panel, whose members are appointed by the White House, oversees the work of the NEA and approves or rejects the agency’s grants. Since he announced an Art Works Tour in October, Landesman has traveled to 13 cities. … He has acquired some new language, including the catchphrase ‘arts as placemakers,’ which speaks to the ability of arts and arts organizations to ‘build stronger communities,’ he said.”

Posted March 30, 2010