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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release December 19, 1997

President Clinton today announced his intent to nominate William J. Ivey as Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Bill Ivey currently serves as a presidential appointee to the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. He was one of the main contributors to the President's Committee's report to President Clinton, Creative America, an analysis of American cultural life. Ivey, currently Director of the Country Music Foundation, has had extensive experience with the National Endowment for the Arts since 1976. He is the first nominee for Chairman who is an arts organization professional and who has developed and run a cultural nonprofit.

Over a twenty-five year career, Ivey has been a passionate advocate for the full range of American art forms. He has stated his position succinctly: "America's creativity is democracy's calling card; it is of the utmost importance that every citizen engage and support our nation's living cultural heritage." Ivey has been at the forefront of national efforts to preserve historic recordings of both popular and classical music.

Since 1971, Ivey has been Director of the Country Music Foundation in Nashville, Tennessee. Called a "Mecca with a mission" by the Wall Street Journal, the Foundation is accredited by the American Association of Museums as a not-for-profit education and research organization which operates the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

Ivey is also a teacher and a writer. He was Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Studies in American Music of Brooklyn College, and has taught at Vanderbilt University's Blair School of Music. Ivey is the author of numerous essays on America's unique musical traditions.

Bill Ivey has served in leadership roles with numerous cultural organizations, both nonprofit and commercial. He is a national trustee of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (NARAS), and is the only individual elected to two separate terms as National Chairman of that organization. Ivey has served as panelist, panel chair, and consultant to the Music, Folk Arts, Challenge, and Advancement programs of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Bill Ivey was born in Detroit in 1944, and was reared in the Northern Peninsula of Michigan. He was educated at the University of Michigan and at Indiana University, and holds degrees in history, folklore and ethnomusicology.

The National Endowment for the Arts, created in 1965, is an independent federal agency whose mission is to foster and sustain the excellence, diversity, and vitality of culture in the United States while broadening the availability of arts for all Americans.