Jhumpa Lahiri

A celebrated novelist and visual artist are among six new people appointed by President Obama Feb. 5 to his Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH). Painter Chuck Close (in a self-portrait, at right) and novelist Jhumpa Lahiri (“Interpreter of Maladies”) are among the new members of the group, which has Michelle Obama as its honorary chair.

Other new appointees to the committee include entertainment lawyer Fred Goldring, BET television founder Sheila Johnson, businesswoman and arts patron Pamela Joyner and cable-TV executive Ken Solomon.

Last November, 25 PCAH members were announced, including State Sen. Richard Cohen, DFL-St.Paul. Cohen has interesting company on the committee, including cellist Yo-Yo Ma; actors Edward Norton, Sarah Jessica Parker, Forest Whitaker and Alfre Woodard; George Wolfe, director and former artistic director at the Public Theatre in New York, and Vogue editor Anna Wintour.

The committee works on education and cultural diplomacy with the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

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