Monday, March 16, 2009

This Just In: Cultural Post at White House

"President Barack Obama has established a staff position in the White House to oversee arts and culture in the Office of Public Liaison and Intergovernmental Affairs under Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser, a White House official confirmed. Kareem Dale, right, a lawyer who last month was named special assistant to the president for disability policy, will hold the new position. Mr. Dale, who is partly blind, previously served as national disability director for the Obama campaign. He also served on the arts policy committee and the disability policy committee for Mr. Obama when he was a senator from Illinois. Bill Ivey, who served as the administration’s transition-team leader for the arts and humanities, said he was encouraged by the appointment and would meet with Mr. Dale next week. “It’s a big step forward in terms of connecting cultural and government with mainstream administration policy,” Mr. Ivey said in an interview on Friday. The White House declined to describe the position in detail, since Mr. Dale’s appointment has yet to be formally announced. Mr. Ivey, a former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, said he expected that the job would mainly involve coordinating the activities of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Institute of Museum and Library Services “in relation to White House objectives.” Although there have been staff members assigned to culture under past presidents, they usually served in the first lady’s office, Mr. Ivey said."

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