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NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman Is Convocation Speaker

posted by Christopher Howard — Nov 29, 2011

Rocco Landesman, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) since 2009, will deliver the keynote address at Convocation during CAA’s 100th Annual Conference and Centennial Celebration. Convocation takes place on Wednesday evening, February 22, 2012, at the Los Angeles Convention Center, West Hall Meeting Room 502AB, Level 2. Scheduled from 5:30 to 7:00 PM, Convocation also includes a welcome from Linda Downs; CAA executive director, an address from Barbara Nesin, president of the CAA Board of Directors; remarks from Susan Hildreth of the Institute of Museum and Library Services; and the presentation of the CAA Centennial Awards.

Born and raised in Saint Louis, Missouri, Landesman pursued his undergraduate education at Colby College and the University of Wisconsin, Madison, before earning a doctorate in dramatic literature at the Yale School of Drama. After completing his coursework, he stayed at the school for four years, working as an assistant professor.

Landesman’s ensuing career has been a hybrid of commercial and artistic enterprises. He left Yale in 1977 to start a private investment fund, which he ran until his appointment ten years later as president of Jujamcyn, a company that owns and operates five Broadway theaters. Before and after joining Jujamcyn, He produced Broadway shows, the most notable of which are Big River, Angels in America: Millenium Approaches, Angels in America: Perestroika, and The Producers, all of which won Tony Awards. In 2005, he purchased Jujamcyn and operated it until President Barack Obama announced his intention to nominate him to lead the NEA. The United States Senate confirmed Landesman as the tenth NEA chairman on August 7, 2009.

Landesman has been active on numerous boards, including the Municipal Arts Society, the Times Square Alliance, the Actor’s Fund, and the Educational Foundation of America. He has also vigorously engaged the ongoing debate about arts policy, speaking at forums and writing numerous articles, focusing mainly on the relationship between the commercial and nonprofit sectors of the American theater. Over the years, he returned to the Yale School of Drama and the Yale Repertory Theatre to teach.