The Senate gave the greenlight today to Rocco Landesman, the Broadway producer of productions such as "Angels in America," as the new chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Also confirmed was former Iowa Rep. Jim Leach as chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Landesman comes to an agency still a bit shell-shocked from the culture wars of the 1990s, and will be challenged to make his mark in an era of tight budgets and teetering arts orgs around the country. He has called the levels of funding to the NEA "pathetic."

In a statement, Landesman said, "I am honored to receive the Senate's vote of confirmation.  I look forward to serving the nation as Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. I believe this is an auspicious time for the NEA and the country. Art is essential to the civic, economic, and cultural vitality of our nation. It reflects who we are and what we stand for — freedom of expression, imagination, and vision. I am eager to work with our many partners to bring quality arts programs to neighborhoods and communities across the country."

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