Rocco Landesman to Step Down as National Endowment for the Arts Chairman

Landesman, a long-time Broadway producer, was nominated by President Obama in May 2009 

Rocco Landesman, the chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, said Tuesday that he plans to retire at the end of the calendar year.

NEA.govLandesman, a long-time Broadway producer, was nominated by President Obama in May 2009 and took office about three months later.

"The time has come for me to become a cliché," he said in a statement. "I turned 65, am going to retire and cannot wait to spend more time in Miami Beach."

The St. Louis-native, who also owns the five theaters in the Jujamcyn chain, previously produced such Tony Award-winning plays and musicals, as "Big River," "Angels in America: Millennium Approaches" and "The Producers." He has served as a "passive" owner of Jujamcyn since beginning his term as NEA chairman.

His accomplishments include forging relationships with other federal agencies, creating a "healing arts" partnership with the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and increasing both the scope and impact of the research office for the National Endowment for the Arts.

NEA Senior Deputy Chairman Joan Shigekawa will serve as the acting head of the agency until a permanent successor is selected.

"We have continued to support and strengthen the entire spectrum of arts in this country, and we have been able to expand the national conversation through convenings, traditional media, and new technology," Landesman said in his statement. "I am proud and honored to have served alongside such an amazing group of dedicated public servants,” he said.

Also read: New Yorker Theater Critic John Lahr to Step Down

Robert L. Lynch, the president and CEO of the nonprofit Americans for the Arts, praised Landesman's tenure, saying that the departing arts official leaves a record of cooperation between his and other branches of government.

"He understood how to connect and work with other branches of government, including the Department of Defense on arts and healing, Department of Education with the Arts Education Partnership," he said in a statement Tuesday, also listing cross-departmental programs created with the departments of Housing and Urban Development and Commerce.

"Most importantly, he used his bully pulpit to educate both Washington and the American people on the value of their arts, specifically noting that the arts are, of course, intrinsically valuable, but also a strong source of jobs and economic stimulus," Lynch added.