This article was written by by Peggy McGlone/The Star-Ledger and appeared Jan 29, 09
Patrice Walker Powell, deputy chairwoman for states, regions and local arts agencies at the National Endowment for the Arts, has been named acting chairwoman of the federal arts agency.
Powell, who was named deputy chairwoman last Februrary, has worked at the NEA since 1991. She will lead the agency until President Obama announces a permanent replacement for Dana Gioia, who resigned earlier this month after six years on the job. (Go here to learn more about her.)
“She’s smart, very professional and has her ear to the ground,” said Ann Marie Miller, executive director of ArtPride/New Jersey, who has worked with Powell. “She knows what’s happening in the arts all over the United States. She’s a great pick.”
In addition, Anita Decker has been appointed by the White House as director of government affairs.
In other NEA news, the $819 billion economic stimulus package passed by the U.S. House of Representatives includes an additional $50 million for the federal agency.
“These additional funds will allow arts organizations–large and small–to play a vital role in reviving their local economy,” said Robert Lynch, president and CEO of the Americans for the Arts, a national advocacy organization. “The arts are a prime vehicle for job creation and a valued economic distribution mechanism.”
The NEA issued a statement about the bill, officially called the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan, that emphasizes the economic muscle of the arts industry. “The arts and culture industry is a sector of the economy just like any other with workers who pay taxes, mortgages, rent and contribute in other ways to the economy,” said the NEA statement. “The National Endowment for the Arts is uniquely positioned to assist in job stimulation for that industry.”