Farmer/Author Masumoto Joins National Council on the Arts

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WASHINGTON — David Mas Masumoto of Del Rey, a noted farmer and author, is now a member of the National Council on the Arts.

Nominated by President Obama last June, he was confirmed in January, took the oath of office in February, and attended his first meeting in March. His six-year term expires in September 2018.

David Mas Masumoto

Masumoto is an organic peach and grape farmer and the author of “Wisdom of the Last Farmer,” “Heirlooms,” “Letters to the Valley,” “Four Seasons in Five Senses,” “Harvest Son,” and “Epitaph for a Peach.” He, along with his wife, Marcy, and daughter, Nikiko, will be publishing a family farm cookbook in June entitled “The Perfect Peach: Recipes and Stories from the Masumoto Family Farm.”

A third-generation farmer, Masumoto grows certified organic peaches, nectarines, grapes, and raisins on an 80-acre farm south of Fresno. A columnist for The Fresno Bee and The Sacramento Bee, he was a Kellogg Foundation Food and Society Policy Fellow from 2006-08. His writing awards include the Commonwealth Club Silver Medal, Julia Child Cookbook Award, and the James Clavell Literary Award. He was a finalist for the James Beard Foundation Awards.

“Wisdom of the Last Farmer” was honored as “Best Environmental Writing in 2009” by the National Resources Defense Council. Masumoto received the Award of Distinction from UC Davis in 2003 and the California Central Valley Excellence in Business Award in 2007.

He is a board member of the James Irvine Foundation and the Public Policy Institute of California and has served as chair of the California Council for the Humanities.

The other new members of the National Council on the Arts, which is the advisory body to the National Endowment for the Arts, are Bruce Carter, music educator and researcher; Maria Rosario Jackson, senior advisor to the Arts and Culture program at the Kresge Foundation; and Maria López de León, executive director of the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC).

The council is convened three times per year to vote on funding recommendations for grants and rejections; to advise the chairman on application guidelines, the budget, and policy and planning directions; and to recommend to the president nominees for the National Medal of Arts.

In addition to the chairman and the four new members, serving on the council are Miguel Campaneria, Aaron Dworkin, JoAnn Falletta, Lee Greenwood, Deepa Gupta, Paul Hodes, Joan Israelite, Emil Kang, Charlotte Kessler, Irvin Mayfield, Jr., Barbara Ernst Prey, and Frank Price. There are also ex-officio members from Congress: Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Reps. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) and Patrick Tiberi (R-Ohio). Appointment by majority and minority leadership of two additional members of Congress to the council is pending.

Shigekawa Named Acting Chair

Joan Shigekawa became acting chair for the National Endowment for the Arts in December 2012. Previously, she served as NEA senior deputy chair since 2009.

Joan Shigekawa

She is the former associate director for foundation initiatives at the Rockefeller Foundation, where she led the NYC Cultural Innovation Fund and was the founding officer for the Southeast Asia cultural exchange program and for the Creativity in a Digital Age area of work.

Shigekawa was the first director of the Arts Program at the Nathan Cummings Foundation in New York. Prior to that, she was with the staff of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she directed the international Production Laboratory of the Program for Art on Film, a joint venture of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the J. Paul Getty Trust.

Shigekawa has 20 years’ experience in film, television and the theater, and has served as an arts advisor for a broad range of projects in the visual, performing and media arts. She has served as a mayoral appointee to the New York City Cultural Affairs Advisory Commission and on the board of Grantmakers in the Arts, a national organization of foundation executives in the arts, and is the former chair of Grantmakers in Film and Electronic Media, an affinity group of the Council on Foundations.

In addition, she has served as a trustee of the New York Foundation for the Arts, Muse Film and Television, the New York Council for the Humanities, and the Independent Television Service (ITVS).

Shigekawa is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College.

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