Friday, April 21, 2023

Headshot of Nora Halpern

American for the Arts leadership has been tapped by the Biden administration as part of a collective of prominent artists, scholars, philanthropists, entrepreneurs, and state and local public officials who have demonstrated a sustainable commitment to the arts and humanities across the country, for the re-establishment of President Biden’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH). The committee, established in 1982 during Ronald Reagan’s administration, paused in 2017. Now returning, the committee will advise the President and the heads of U.S. cultural agencies on policy, philanthropic and private sector engagement, and other efforts to enhance federal support for the arts, humanities, and museum and library services.

Among the appointees to the committee is Nora Halpern, who has served as Vice President of Leadership Alliances for more than two decades at Americans for the Arts– the longest-running national arts advocacy organization represented within the collective of distinguished members. As an art historian, museum director, and curator advocating for art, artists, and social justice, Halpern has, through her role at Americans for the Arts, focused on arts policy convenings and engaging individual thought leaders to advance the arts and arts education across America.

“I am excited to continue working toward ensuring that the arts are central and accessible to everyone—I deeply believe that the arts are a source of comfort, expression, connection, and are vital for a full and healthy life,” said Nora Halpern. “As someone who benefited greatly from a public-school arts education during a time when it was a cornerstone of a comprehensive K-12 curriculum, I am acutely aware of the transformative impact the arts and humanities can have in fostering citizenry that is both empathetic and innovative. I am eager to contribute to the advancement of lifelong access to the arts and arts education, and I look forward to working with my fellow committee members towards this goal.”

Also appointed to the Committee are a number of prominent arts figures engaged with Americans for the Arts’ work including Artist Committee members Anna Deavere Smith and Kerry Washington, 2015 National Arts Awards honoree Lady Gaga, and two-time National Arts Awards presenter Jon Batiste

“Congratulations to all of the appointees to the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities,” said Americans for the Arts President Nolen Bivens. “They have each done tremendous work to advance access to and participation in the arts for all. As a group, I can think of no better collection of talent and advocacy to advise President Biden on arts and humanities issues. Americans for the Arts is so proud of our own Nora Halpern for her appointment to this distinguished committee.”

The list also includes Constance M. Carroll, president of the California Community Colleges Baccalaureate Association; actor George Clooney; Harvard professor Philip J. Deloria; M. Angélica Garcia, president of Berkeley City College; actress Jennifer Garner; bookstore owner and former congressman Steve Israel; producer-writer Marta Kauffman; producer Ricky Kirshner; actor Troy Kotsur; Bad Robot Prods. co-CEO Katie McGrath; Laura Penn, executive director of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society; artist and educator Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya; author and Stanford Professor Emeritus Arnold Rampersad; producer and author Shonda Rhimes; retired attorney and CPA Kimberly Richter Shirley; educator and journalist Horacio Sierra; singer-songwriter Joe Walsh; and Pauline Yu, president emerita of the American Council of Learned Sciences.

Last September, President Biden issued an executive order on Promoting the Arts, the Humanities, and Museum and Library Services, citing that the arts and humanities as “essential to the well-being, health, vitality, and democracy of our Nation.”

A mosaic of PCAH members with the message 'Congratulations to the Members of the President's Committee of the Arts and Humanities' in the middle.

Read the full announcement of the PCAH here.

Background on the re-instatement of the PCAH can be found here.

For more information, please follow along through our social media platforms at @Americans4Arts.

Established in 1960, Americans for the Arts is the nation's leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts in the United States, and it is committed to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for everyone to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts.


Rachelle Roe, Media Relations
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Janice Torres, PR
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