WASHINGTON — The White House has tapped Country Music Foundation director Bill Ivey to head the National Endowment for the Arts, replacing Jane Alexander who announced in October that she was stepping down.
Ivey is the first veteran of an arts organization to get the nod for the federal arts agency. The NEA, which distributes about $100 million annually to local arts agencies, has been a lightning rod for Republican conservatives who say it has funded degenerate and immoral works.
Ivey, who has headed the Nashville-based Country Music Foundation since 1971, has been a outspoken proponent the past quarter century for the preservation of popular and classical recordings. He also has a long association with the NEA, serving in the past as a panelist, pan chair and consultant to the agency’s music and folk arts programs.
“The NEA is an agency that I care a lot about personally,” Ivey told the Associated Press, “It’s an honor to be a candidate for that job, and possibly head the agency.” Ivey must be confirmed by the Senate before