2015-10-08 / Around Town

National Arts Chair to Visit Museum

October is Arts and Humanities Month, and this year marks the 50th anniversary of the day President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities Act, thereby creating both the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Humanities (NEH).

On Friday, Oct. 16, from 2:30 – 4:00 p.m., NEA Chairman Jane Chu will be at the Newport Art Museum at a reception co-hosted by the museum, the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County, and the Rhode Island State Council of the Arts. The event: a celebration of the creation, on Sept. 29, 1965, of the NEA.

According to the NEH, it was the long-awaited “culmination of a movement calling for the federal government to invest in culture.”

The reception will also include a nod to a prominent cultural crusader.

Leading the charge at the time was Rhode Island Senator Claiborne Pell, who introduced the bill to his colleagues in the Senate. Pell told reporters that it marked the “first time in our history” that the president had given “his administration support to . . . our nation’s cultural advancement and to the full growth of a truly great society.”

Pell was in good company on that day. The bill was signed in the Rose Garden, in the presence of Academy Award-winner Gregory Peck, the photographer Ansel Adams, writer Ralph Ellison, architect Walter Gropius, and philanthropist Paul Mellon.

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