President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities

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The President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH) was established in Washington, DC in 1982 by an Executive Order from President Ronald Reagan and works with each Administration to incorporate the arts and the humanities into White House objectives.

As with her predecessor First Ladies, Michelle Obama currently serves as the Honorary Chairwoman;[1] Rachel Goslins is Executive Director.


The members of the Committee are 26-30 Presidentially-appointed private citizens as well as the heads of federal agencies with cultural programs: the National Endowment for the Arts; the National Endowment for the Humanities; the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences; the Departments of Education, Interior, and State; the National Gallery of Art; the Smithsonian Institution; the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; and the Library of Congress. The President also appoints a chairman or co-chairmen from among the private members.


Because of its unique membership, the PCAH is able to bridge the federal agencies and the private sector. It recognizes cultural excellence, engages in research and recognition programs; initiates special projects, and stimulates private funding. Its primary federal cultural partners are the NEA, NEH, and IMLS. In recent years, its primary foci have been youth arts and humanities learning; expanding international cultural relationships, preservation/conservation, and assisting the White House and its federal cultural partners in accomplishing cultural outreach, connecting Americans with each other and the rest of the world.

The PCAH has its offices at the Old Post Office building on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC.

Current programs[edit]

Coming Up Taller (CUT)[edit]

Now in its 12th year, Coming Up Taller is a PCAH program, in partnership with NEA, NEH, IMLS, and the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA), which honors and supports exemplary after-school and out-of-school (OST) arts and humanities programs for at-risk youth. In 2008, for example, 15 U.S. programs were honored along with two programs from Mexico, one program from China, and one from Egypt.

AFI Project: 20/20[edit]

Now in its third year, this PCAH program, in collaboration with the American Film Institute (AFI), NEA, NEH, IMLS, and founding partner U.S. Department of State (2006-2008), enhances exchange, understanding, and outreach through filmmakers and their films from the U.S. and abroad. Launched each year at the Los Angeles Film Festival AFIFEST, the program invites outstanding independent films and filmmakers of diverse artistic approaches, cultural traditions, and philosophical views that reveal both a respect for differences and a shared humanity among cultures. Following the festival, pairs of filmmakers share their films in screenings and residencies in venues in the U.S. and abroad.

Save America's Treasures[edit]

Established by Executive Order in 1998, Save America's Treasures is now a federal public-private partnership that includes the PCAH, NEA, NEH, IMLS, the National Park Service (NPS) and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The PCAH and the National Park Service jointly oversee the management of the federal competitive matching grant component, which helps preserve, conserve, and rescue our nation's most significant cultural and heritage resources, including historic structures, collections of artifacts, works of art, maps, manuscripts, and sound recordings.

Special initiatives[edit]

  • Led first U.S. Federal cultural delegation to the People's Republic of China (June 2007), which led to a number of rich cultural and scholarly collaborations among the cultural agencies and the Ministry of Culture in China;
  • Led historic meetings in Sante Fe, NM, (2003) and El Paso/Ciudad Juarez (2007) with federal cultural leaders and counterparts from Mexico's National Council on Culture and the Arts (CONACULTA);
  • Support annual Presidentially-selected National Humanities Medalists and National Medal of Arts presentations at White House ceremonies.

Former leadership[edit]

Former honorary chairwomen[edit]

Former committee chairpeople[edit]

Former executive directors[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Mrs. T (November 19, 2012). "Geometric Gem". Mrs. O. Retrieved November 21, 2012.