View Header


Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release July 10, 1998

The President today announced his intent to appoint John Silberman, Jeff Valdez and Ruth Whetstone Wagner as members to the Advisory Committee on the Arts of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Mr. John Silberman, of New York City, New York, is a principal in the law firm of John Silberman Associates. His practice encompasses virtually all areas of the arts and entertainment, with clients primarily drawn from artists, writers and performers. Before opening his own firm in 1996, Mr. Silberman was a partner in the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, where he practiced from 1976 to 1996. He has served on the Boards of Young Audiences, the Council on Economic Priorities, New York Stage and Film Company and the Stonewall Community Foundation. Mr. Silberman is also a member of the Collections Committee of the Harvard University Art Museums and the National Advisory Council of The Estate Project for Artists with AIDS. He received his B.A. degree from Northwestern University and his J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Mr. Jeff Valdez, of Beverly Hills, California, is a gifted and visionary writer/producer and an innovative force in the world of entertainment. Mr. Valdez is Co-Chairman of Si TV, a production company specializing in English-language, Latino-themed programming for American television as well as feature films, music, books and other media targeting the burgeoning U.S. Hispanic market. He is the creator and producer of "Funny is Funny!" and "Cafe Ole with Giselle Fernandez," the first English-language programs on the Spanish-language cable network Galavision. Mr. Valdez was featured in The Los Angeles Times "36 Faces To Watch In '97, "as well as the "100 Most Influential Hispanics" by Hispanic Magazine. He recently received the 1998 ALMA Award for pioneering bilingual programming that portrays positive images of today's Hispanics in the U.S. Mr. Valdez' vision as a TV producer also earned him the 1996 Nosotros Golden Eagle Award, a prestigious award given to individuals who radiate the Hispanic image. Born in the housing projects of Pueblo, Colorado, Valdez began his career as a stand up comic in Colorado Springs. He launched "Comedy Compadres," the first Latino comedy show on Los Angeles TV station, KTLA. He also created the Latino Laugh Festival which features some of Hollywood's top Latino performers and comics. The Latino Laugh Festival is in its third year and has enjoyed successful runs on Showtime and Comedy Central networks.

Ms. Ruth Whetstone Wagner, of Tampa, Florida, is a shareholder with the law firm of Wagner, Vaughan & McLaughlin, P.A. Previously, she was Of Counsel with the Tampa office of Patton Boggs & Blow. In addition to her legal experience, Ms. Wagner was involved in real estate as the Director of Marketing for the Larry Carter Construction Company and a junior high school teacher. She received her B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Arkansas in 1962, and her J.D. from the University of Arkansas Law School. Ms. Wagner, and her husband, Bill Wagner, are two of the original Founders of the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center.

The Advisory Committee on the Arts of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts advises and consults with the Board of Trustees for the Center, and makes recommendations to the Board regarding existing and prospective cultural activities to be featured at the center. In addition, the members of the Committee assist in the Center's fundraising efforts and act as liaisons to performance groups and performing arts centers throughout the nation.