Obituary: Frank Hodsoll, NEA chairman under Reagan, 78

Posted on: July 28, 2016

“Frank Hodsoll, a … persistent champion of cultural funding and programming as President Ronald Reagan’s chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, died July 24 at a hospice center in Falls Church, Va.,” writes Emily Langer in Tuesday’s (7/26) Washington Post. “His death, from cancer, was confirmed by his family. Mr. Hodsoll—a lawyer and Foreign Service officer whose previous artistic endeavors consisted largely of collegiate theatrical productions and glee clubs … took office in 1981 and remained in the post until 1989. He was widely reported to have earned the appreciation of the arts community, where many had initially feared that he would join other Reagan officials in advocating sweeping cuts to federal funding…. Reagan … was ultimately dissuaded from taking the draconian step of eliminating the NEA…. Under [Hodsoll’s] leadership, the NEA partnered with the American Film Institute to form a national center for video and film preservation…. He sought to spur local and regional support for the arts through matching grants…. Under Mr. Hodsoll, the National Medal of Arts was established in 1984 to recognize exceptional achievement by artists and arts patrons.” Survivors include his wife, Mimi McEwen Hodsoll, and two children.

Posted July 27, 2016