Welcome to the The President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities

The President’s Committee bridges the interests of federal agencies and the private sector, supports special projects that increase participation and excellence in the arts and humanities and helps incorporate these disciplines into White House objectives under our Honorary Chair First Lady Michelle Obama.

Photo by Andrea Dylewski
Photo by Andrea Dylewski
Education Slide

The President’s Committee believes that the arts and humanities should be part of the education of every child in America. The PCAH honors organizations and supports initiatives that give young people the opportunity to experience the mastery, discipline and accomplishment that is part of being an artist and scholar.

Photo by Michael JN Bowles
Photo by Michael JN Bowles
Cultural Exchange Slide

International cultural exchange and cooperation in a increasingly interconnected world is more important than ever. By fostering those connections with audiences in the U.S. and abroad, the President’s Committee seeks to share ideas, broaden understanding of the riches of cultural traditions from around the world and expand cooperation to sustain and nurture artists, scholars, performers and institutions.

Video still from Throw Down Your Heart
Video still from Throw Down Your Heart
Creative Economy Slide

Arts, humanities and heritage resources and their creative workers are a key to healthy, vibrant communities, increasing their competitiveness as places to live, work and visit. Festivals, galleries, studios, historic sites and buildings and a wealth of other cultural and historic assets are integral to the identity of communities and neighborhoods. The President's Committee focuses its leadership on the value of civic investment in these critical resources.

Photo by B. Krist for GPTMC
Photo by B. Krist for GPTMC
Special Events Slide

A healthy cultural climate requires dedicated citizens and civic leadership. The President’s Committee embodies that principle as a dynamic link between the public and private sectors, which is used to support activities that recognize distinguished artists and humanists, as well as celebrate the diversity of American culture as a source of strength.

Photo by Tony Brown
Photo by Tony Brown

PCAH SpotlightPCAH Spotlight

New Report on Turnaround Arts Points to Success

The President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities has published an interim report on its signature initiative, Turnaround Arts. Authored by an evaluation team from Booz Allen Hamilton and the Urban Education Institute at the University of Chicago, the report examines progress indicators for Turnaround Arts schools in their first year. It includes a summary of the evaluation, a preliminary description of how different schools are implementing arts education as part of their larger turnaround efforts, and a summary of school reform indicators and student achievement data in Turnaround Arts schools. Although the data is still preliminary, the report notes that there were “many ways in which the Turnaround Arts schools saw positive change as a result of being part of this initiative.” The researchers point to shifts in school culture and climate, positive perceptions by teachers and students and increased school morale. In evaluating school reform indicators, the Progress Report notes that more than half of Turnaround Arts schools increased daily attendance, a chronic problem in low-performing schools. Similarly, disciplinary incidents were substantially decreased in a majority of Turnaround Arts schools, some by as much as 69-79 percent.

Looking at baseline data in academic achievement, the report indicates that all but one of Turnaround Arts schools improved their overall scores in math, and all but one improved their overall scores in reading. All Turnaround Arts schools improved their scores in either reading or math. When compared to low-performing schools in their state or district which are part of a larger School Improvement Grant program, five out of seven Turnaround Arts schools (70%) had higher growth in reading, while a little less than half of them had higher growth in math. Overall, the Report notes “many hopeful signs about the potential of this work to positively influence student experience, student engagement, school culture, and school outcomes.”

Click here to read the complete report.

First Lady Michelle Obama Presents 2013 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award

First Lady Michelle Obama praised the power of the arts to change young people's lives as she presented the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program awards to thirteen programs at a ceremony in the White House’s East Room. With help from the heads of each of the program’s federal partners—the ... Read More »

Film Forward 2013 in Their Own Words

Film Forward closed out 2013 and its third year in rural Maine, which also included visits to Taiwan, China, Colombia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Jordan, as well as Seattle Washington; Imperial Valley, CA; and Puerto Rico. Although not all the numbers are in yet, the impact of these visits is ... Read More »

President Barack Obama Appoints Seven Members to the President's Committee

President Barack Obama appointed seven new members of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. They will join 30 other private members appointed by the President and twelve federal representatives, whose agencies have cultural programs such as the National Endowments for the ... Read More »

Save America’s Treasures Restores Another Icon of the African-American Experience

A 77-ton, vintage Pullman rail car was recently lifted by two massive cranes into the construction pit of the Smithsonian Museum of African-American History and Culture. The shrink wrapped Jim-Crow era railway car’s placement in the museum, which will be built around it, culminated almost two ... Read More »
Paula Hannaway Crown

Re-investing in Arts Education: A Chicago Conversation

July 11, 2012 – Paula Hannaway Crown

Last fall, my husband Jim and I hosted a conversation on arts education in Chicago. One of four such conversations held around the country, the evening was designed to bring together thought leaders, administrators, philanthropists and members of President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities (PCAH) to discuss the national imperative of arts education and the PCAH’s landmark report Reinvesting in Arts Education: Winning America’s Future Through Creative Schools. We were pleased to have co-chair Margo Lion, Vice Chair Mary Schmidt Campbell, and fellow PCAH members Damian Woetzel, Yo-Yo Ma, and Howard Gottleib join us for this important evening. Joining them were an impressive list of local academics and educators including: the head of Chicago Public Schools, Jean-Claude Brizard; President Walter Massey of the School of the Art Institute; President Robert Zimmer of the University of Chicago; Timothy Knowles of the Urban Education Initiative; and Deborah Rutter of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Also joining us were a group of prominent civic leaders including Penny Pritzker and Bryan Traubert, Caryn and King Harris, Penny Sebring and Chuck Lewis, Julie and Brian Simmons, ... Read More »
Margo Lion

President's Committee Honored with National Award for Arts Education

October 27, 2011 – Margo Lion

On October 17 at their Gala Dinner in New York City, Americans for the Arts (AFTA) honored the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities with the Arts Education Award.  George Stevens, Jr,. Rachel Goslins, Liz Manne, Ken Solomon and Damian Woetzel joined me for the festivities, which also celebrated artists Frank Stella (Lifetime Achievement Award), Jenny Holzer (Outstanding Contributions to the Arts Award) and Gabourey Sidibe (Bell Family Foundation Young Artist Award).   Americans for the Arts (AFTA) really knows how to host an event, and this night was no exception. The evening was buzzing with lively conversation about the role of the arts—in education, in strengthening community and in economic development.  Given the enthusiastic response to our landmark report, Re-investing in Arts Education: Winning America's Future, AFTA chose arts education as a major theme for the evening.  It was deeply gratifying to hear echoed again and again the importance of our research and recommendations to those working tirelessly in the trenches.  There was an especially exciting moment when Stephen Jones, ... Read More »

Honorary ChairmanHonorary Chairman

First Lady Michelle Obama

The arts and humanities define who we are as a people.  That is their power -- to remind us of what we each have to offer, and what we all have in common.  To help us understand our history and imagine our future.  To give us hope in the moments of struggle and to bring us together when nothing else will.”

— First Lady Michelle Obama

About Our MembersAbout Our Members

The President’s Committee’s success in engaging the public and private sectors depends on the expertise and leadership of its private and federal members, who embody and represent the diverse elements of the cultural sector.

Read more about the President's Committee and read the Chairmen's Letter »

Featured PublicationFeatured Publication