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Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

Lady Gaga Named Co-Chair of Biden's Star-Studded Arts and Humanities Committee


Fri 14 Apr 2023 | 08:48 AM
Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga
Yara Sameh

US President Joe Biden has tapped pop icon Lady Gaga and producer Bruce Cohen to co-chair the revived Committee on the Arts and Humanities, the White House announced Thursday.

The list for the committee also includes musician Jon Batiste; Constance M. Carroll, president of the California Community Colleges Baccalaureate Association; actor George Clooney; Harvard professor Philip J. Deloria; M. Angélica Garcia, president of Berkeley City College; actress Jennifer Garner, art historian, museum director and curator Nora Halpern; bookstore owner and former congressman Steve Israel; producer-writer Marta Kauffman; producer Ricky Kirshner; actor Troy Kotsur; Bad Robot Prods. co-CEO Katie McGrath; Laura Penn, executive director of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society; artist and educator Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya; author and Stanford Professor Emeritus Arnold Rampersad; producer and author Shonda Rhimes; retired attorney and CPA Kimberly Richter Shirley; educator and journalist Horacio Sierra; writer and actress Anna Deavere Smith; singer-songwriter Joe Walsh; actress, director and producer Kerry Washington; and Pauline Yu, president emerita of the American Council of Learned Sciences.

Biden announced last year that he was reviving the committee, which was disbanded during the presidency of Donald Trump. The committee, set up in 1982 during Ronald Reagan’s administration, advises the president and heads of cultural agencies on ways to elevate the importance of the arts, including through federal support.

In 2017, remaining Obama-era members of the committee resigned in protest of Trump’s response to the Charlottesville riots. Trump did not renew the executive order for the committee.

Biden issued an executive order in September reviving the committee. He pledged that his administration would “advance the cultural vitality of the United States by promoting the arts, the humanities, and museum and library services,” including when it comes to advancing equity, accessibility, and opportunity. 

The order also pledges to “strengthen America’s creative and cultural economy, including by enhancing and expanding opportunities for artists, humanities scholars, students, educators, and cultural heritage practitioners, as well as the museums, libraries, archives, historic sites, colleges and universities, and other institutions that support their work.”

A number of the members of the committee have ties to Biden including as campaign donors and supporters. Along with Stephanie Cutter, Kirschner served as executive producer of Biden’s inaugural. Kaufmann hosted First Lady Jill Biden at her home for a midterm fundraising event in September. Batiste performed at a White House state dinner in December.

During the Obama administration, Cohen also served as the entertainment industry liaison for Joining Forces, the initiative from First Lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden to support military service members, veterans, and their families. Lady Gaga performed at Biden’s inauguration and traveled with him to support an initiative to address campus sexual assault.