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Broadway Producer Rocco Landesman nominated chairman of NEA
The appointment, which is expected to be announced on Wednesday, surprised many in the arts world. It ends months of speculation about who would be selected to lead the nation’s largest and most important arts organization.
The White House declined to discuss the appointment before the announcement. Mr. Landesman, whose appointment must be confirmed by Congress, also declined to comment.
“It’s potentially the best news the arts community in the United States has had since the birth of Walt Whitman,” said the playwright Tony Kushner. “He’s an absolutely brilliant and brave and perfect choice for the job.”
Choosing Mr. Landesman, 61, signals that Mr. Obama plans to shake things up at the endowment. While a major source of money for arts groups around the country, it has historically been something of a sleepy bureaucracy, still best known to some for the culture wars of the 1990s.
Since then, the agency has been trying to rebuild its image on Capitol Hill, along with its budget. The current allocation stands at $155 million, and though Mr. Obama has requested $161 million for 2010, that is still short of its high of $176 million in 1992."
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