Obama to Nominate Masumoto to National Council on Arts

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WASHINGTON —President Barack Obama announced on Wednesday that he would nominate David “Mas” Masumoto to the National Council on the Arts.

He also announced his intention to nominate Polly Trottenberg as undersecretary for policy for the Department of Transportation.

David Mas Masumoto

“Our nation will be greatly served by the talent and expertise these individuals bring to their new roles. I am grateful they have agreed to serve in this administration, and I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead,” said Obama.

Masumoto is an organic peach and grape farmer, author, and columnist for The Fresno Bee.  His books include “Epitaph for a Peach,” “Heirlooms,” “Letters to the Valley,” “Four Seasons in Five Senses,” “Harvest Son,” and “Wisdom of the Last Farmer.”

His writing awards include the Commonwealth Club Silver Medal, the Julia Child Cookbook Award, and the James Clavell Literary Award.

Masumoto was appointed to the board of the California Council for the Humanities, now known as Cal Humanities, in 1994 and serving as co-chair from 1998 to 2001.  In addition, he serves on boards of the James Irvine Foundation and the Public Policy Institute of California.

He earned a B.A. in sociology from UC Berkeley and an M.S. in community development from UC  Davis. He and his wife, Marcy, have two children, Nikiko and Korio. For more information, visit www.masumoto.com.

The National Council on the Arts advises the chairperson of the National Endowment for the Arts, who also chairs the council, on agency policies and programs. It reviews and makes recommendations to the chair on applications for grants, funding guidelines, and leadership initiatives.

The council was established through the National Arts and Cultural Development Act of 1964, a year before the federal agency was created by congressional legislation. Its first members were appointed by President Lyndon Johnson and included noted artists such as Marian Anderson, Leonard Bernstein, Agnes de Mille, Richard Diebenkorn, Duke Ellington, Helen Hayes, Charlton Heston, Harper Lee, Gregory Peck, Sidney Poitier, Richard Rodgers, Rosalind Russell, David Smith, John Steinbeck, and Isaac Stern.

The National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities Act of 1965 established the National Endowment for the Arts and provided for 26 citizens to serve as advisors to the agency as members of the National Council on the Arts. Members are appointed by the president and approved by the Senate for six-year, staggered terms. Congress has since enacted legislation that reduced the membership of the council. Currently, there are 18 members of the council and an additional six members of Congress to serve in an ex officio, non-voting capacity for two-year terms.

The presidential appointees are selected for their widely recognized knowledge of the arts or their expertise or profound interest in the arts. They have records of distinguished service or achieved eminence in the arts and are appointed so as to represent equitably all geographical areas of the country.

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