Minneapolis Institute of Art's Kaywin Feldman, left, will become the National Gallery of Art's first female director, while Congresswoman Betty McCollum sits on a key subcommittee. (Feldman photo by Dan Dennehy)

As Minneapolis Institute of Art director Kaywin Feldman steps into her new leadership post at the National Gallery of Art, she'll encounter a friendly Minnesota face in Congress: U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum.

The National Gallery receives about three-quarters of its budget from federal funding -- about $130 million of its $168 million annual operating budget in fiscal year 2018, according to a spokeswoman. So its relationship with Congress is key. And it looks like McCollum will play a key role on the congressional subcommittee that allocates funding to the National Gallery. As ranking Democrat on the Interior-Envoronment Appropriations Subcommittee of the influential House Appropriations panel, McCollum is set to become its chair when Democrats take control.

On Tuesday, McCollum praised the National Gallery for picking Feldman as its next director.

"It's a real feather in Minnesota’s cap... to have two women overseeing the National Gallery from different perspectives," she said, "sharing art with people not only from around the United States but around the world."

The National Gallery boasts some 5.2 million visitors a year, a number McCollum expects could swell under Feldman's leadership.

"That’s one of the things she really showed a flair for in Minnesota," McCollum said by phone. "Her bringing that spark and sparkle of energy to the National Gallery is just going to be fabulous."

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