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Record Label Chief, Theater Director Among Biden's National Council On The Arts Picks

Jake Shimabukuro, one of President Biden's nominees, performs at Bomhard Theater on Nov. 9, 2018 in Louisville, Ky.
Stephen J. Cohen
Getty Images
Jake Shimabukuro, one of President Biden's nominees, performs at Bomhard Theater on Nov. 9, 2018 in Louisville, Ky.

From a uke-picker to a former politician, President Biden's planned nominees for the National Council on the Arts are wildly diverse in their experiences and artistic disciplines.

As president of the independent record label Oh Boy Records, Fiona Whelan Prine is known as a champion of American roots music and keeper of her late husband John Prine's legacy. Kamilah Forbes is the executive producer of the Apollo Theater and a TV and theater director whose next project is the Broadway premiere of Soul Train alongside producer Questlove. International touring artist and "Hendrix of the ukulele," Jake Shimabukuro "thinks the world would be a better place if everyone played the ukulele," according to a White House statement.

There isn't much of a hip factor in the volunteer job title. The National Council of the Arts "advises the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, who also chairs the Council, on agency policies and programs." But if this group were to throw a party, the words, moves and music would be epic.

Rounding out Biden's nominees are:

-Ismael Ahmed is co-founder of The Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, longtime head of Detroit's world music festival Concert of Colors and public radio host.

-Kinan Azmeh is a clarinetist, composer and artistic director of the Damascus Festival Chamber Players.

-Huascar Medina is the 7th Poet Laureate of Kansas and host of the online radio show "Kansas Is Lit."

-Christopher Morgan is a choreographer, educator and executive artistic director of Dance Place in Washington. He also directs Art Omi: Dance, a collaborative residency for international choreographers in New York.

-Constance Williams has a background in business, politics and the arts. She served as the chair of the board of The Philadelphia Museum of Art and is now chair emerita. She was also a trustee of the National Museum of American Jewish History.

The National Council on the Arts was established in 1965. Members are appointed by the president and approved by the Senate for "six-year, staggered terms," according to the NEA. If approved, these nominees would join the other members serving now.

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Elizabeth Blair is a Peabody Award-winning senior producer/reporter on the Arts Desk of NPR News.