I just got back to my Washington hotel after my first day of meetings as a member of the National Council on the Arts. I can’t tell you what I did today, because this was the first of two days’ worth of closed sessions, but I can say that my fellow NCA members are without exception serious, thoughtful, and collegial, and that I’ve already learned a huge amount about the workings of the National Endowment for the Arts, all of it impressive (to me, anyway).
In lieu of spilling the official beans, let me direct you to a very interesting profile
of Dana Gioia, chairman of the NEA, that appeared a couple of days ago in the San Diego Union-Tribune. Here’s the money quote:
“I would say that the major reform I’ve made at the endowment can be summarized pretty easily,” Gioia said. “Historically, the National Endowment for the Arts thought of itself as a federal agency that served artists. Today, the NEA sees itself as a federal agency which serves the American public by bringing the best of the arts and arts education to all Americans.”
He said the same thing to us today. Read the whole story and you’ll see exactly what he meant.
I also took that v. cool friend of mine to the Phillips Collection this morning, where we looked over a beautifully mounted Modigliani retrospective that’s an absolute must-see, even if you’re not all that enthusiastic about Modigliani (which I’m still not).
Now I’ve got to get to bed–tomorrow is going to be an even longer day. Stay out of trouble while I’m gone.