President Biden Issues Proclamation on National Arts and Humanities Month, Includes Executive Order to Promote the Arts, the Humanities, and Museum and Library Services
Washington, DC—President Joseph R. Biden issued a proclamation today designating October 2022 as National Arts and Humanities Month. In the proclamation, the President announced a new Executive Order that advances a whole-of-government policy for the arts, the humanities, and museum and library services, including the re-establishment of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH) “to inform and support the national engagement with Americans necessary to advance the arts, the humanities, and museum and library services.”
The Executive Order declares the Biden-Harris Administration’s policy to advance equity, accessibility, and opportunities for all Americans, and to strengthen the creative and cultural economy of the United States by promoting the arts, the humanities, and museum and library services. The order recognizes not just the intrinsic value of the arts and humanities, but also that they “are essential to the well-being, health, vitality, and democracy of our Nation. They are the soul of America, reflecting our multicultural and democratic experience.” It seeks to integrate the arts, humanities, and museum and library services into policies, programs, and partnerships throughout the Federal government to tackle the greatest challenges of our time, such as the climate crisis and the scourge of hate-fueled violence, and to “keep pushing forward to form a more perfect Union.”
The order re-establishes a committee to advise the President and the heads of the three U.S. cultural agencies—the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)—on policy objectives, philanthropic and private sector engagement, and other efforts to enhance federal support for the arts, the humanities, and museum and library services. The Committee will also engage the nation’s artists, humanities scholars, and cultural heritage practitioners in initiatives that promote excellence in the arts, the humanities, and museum and library services and demonstrate their relevance to the country’s health, economy, equity, and civic life. The order also directs enhanced cooperation and partnership among agencies across the Federal government with IMLS, NEA, and NEH to advance the President’s policy.
“This Executive Order is an opportunity to reflect on the impact library and museum programs have on our communities. The creativity and inspiration artists, authors, and philosophers provide lead us to fuller, richer experiences. As two of the most trusted institutions, libraries and museums provide access that allows us to engage with the arts, humanities, and diverse cultures to bring about a more informed and engaged society,” said Crosby Kemper, Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. “IMLS is honored to be part of this Executive Order and the newly relaunched President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities as we look to build partnerships to advance this initiative over the coming years.”
Chair Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD, of the National Endowment for the Arts said, “This national recognition offers a moment to reflect on the value that arts and culture bring to our lives and communities. The arts promote understanding, give voice to our humanity, and help us steward our authentic, deeply rich, and varied histories and narratives. This is an extraordinary moment for the arts and humanities with this whole-of-government approach that will be integral to advancing the health, economy, equity, and democracy of the nation. We are thrilled to work with this committee, and we are grateful to the President for his vision.”
“We are thrilled that the Biden-Harris Administration has chosen to recognize the essential importance of the humanities to the health and success of our nation and communities by designating this month of observation and reconvening a presidential committee to augment NEH’s efforts to reach all Americans,” said Chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities Shelly C. Lowe (Navajo). “This executive order will elevate the humanities and help American communities reach their full potential through engagement with history, literature, languages, and cultural heritage.”
The President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities (PCAH) was initially created by President Reagan in 1982. Under President Biden’s new Executive Order, PCAH will be composed of the director of IMLS, the chairs of NEA and NEH, and up to twenty-five non-federal leaders in the arts, humanities, and museum and library services. Funding and administrative support for the committee will be provided by IMLS.
Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS): The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's libraries and museums. We advance, support, and empower America's museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. IMLS envisions a nation where individuals and communities have access to museums and libraries to learn from and be inspired by the trusted information, ideas, and stories they contain about our diverse natural and cultural heritage. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov
National Endowment for the Arts (NEA): Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is an independent federal agency that is the largest funder of the arts and arts education in communities nationwide and a catalyst of public and private support for the arts. By advancing equitable opportunities for arts participation and practice, the NEA fosters and sustains an environment in which the arts benefit everyone in the United States. Learn more at arts.gov.
National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH): Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at neh.gov.