Actress to serve as co-president of arts org

Dana Delany has been named co-president of the Creative Coalition, the nonprofit org that advocates for increased support of the arts and other causes.

Delany, one of the stars of ABC sudser “Desperate Housewives,” succeeds Tony Goldwyn and will join Tim Daly in the leadership of the org, along with exec director Robin Bronk.

Founded in 1989, the org has earned its greatest share of recent publicity for numerous fetes it has co-sponsored tied to the Democratic and Republican conventions and the White House Correspondents dinner. Delany moderated an event with White House social secretary Desiree Rogers in June.

Delany said she expected that support for the arts will be high on the org’s agenda in the coming months, and she planned to meet soon with Broadway producer Rocco Landesman, the recently confirmed chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts who Delany counts as a personal friend. Delany recalled having lunch with him late last year and encouraging him to seek the NEA gig. He did the same for Delany when she was mulling whether to take her spot on the Creative Coalition.

Delany said that an encouraging sign is that “we have a White House that is arts friendly, so we are happy about that.” The NEA, for instance, received some $50 million in funding from the stimulus bill.

Landesman said in a recent interview with the New York Times that he would pursue significant funding increases from the current $155 million allocation and promote the idea of the economic boost that comes from such funding.

As a nonpartisan org, the Creative Coalition has stayed out of the partisan fray, and its lobbying outlay is a fraction of other groups. The Creative Coalition spent $40,000 on lobbying through Quinn Gillespie & Associates in 2008, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Another org that lobbies for arts support, Americans for the Arts, spent just over $260,000.

Although the culture wars of the 1990s saw Republicans targeting the NEA, Delany suggested that even die-hard conservatives realize the benefits of the arts.

“I love the fact that Tom DeLay is on ‘Dancing with the Stars,’ ” she said of the former House majority leader, who will be a competitor on the upcoming season of ABC hoofer competish. “It’s a great example of a Republican who says dancing makes him happy. That’s the arts.”

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