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A Look at Congress' Leading Art Advocates


The Arts' Three Most Influential Advocates in Congress

REP. SIDNEY YATES, 80, Illinois Democrat. First elected 1948. District includes parts of the north side of Chicago and North Shore suburbs, including Evanston. Yates' personal arts preferences include modern sculpture and painting (of which he has an extensive collection), music and dance. Not a member of the Congressional Arts Caucus. Member of the House Appropriations Committee. Chairman of the subcommittee on the department of the Interior and related agencies, which has jurisdiction over budgets for the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities. Received his bachelor's and law degrees from the University of Chicago. Favorite cultural activities in Washington include theater, classical music and dance events. Generally considered the most politically powerful and forceful advocate for arts issues in Congress.

REP. PAT WILLIAMS, 52, Montana Democrat. First elected 1978. District: western Montana, including state capital of Helena and his hometown, Butte. Member of Congressional Arts Caucus since its inception in 1982. One of seven deputy Democratic whips, Williams is a member of the Education and Labor Committee and chairs subcommittee on post-secondary education, which originates legislation to renew the NEA and NEH. Educated at the University of Denver and Western Montana College. A son, Griff, is an artist. Williams' committee jurisdiction over renewal of the NEA is of crucial importance, because it will handle pivotal arts legislation in the next few months.

SEN. CLAIBORNE PELL, 71, Rhode Island Democrat. First elected 1960. Member of Congressional Arts Caucus since 1988. Helped found Concerned Senators for the Arts. Personal art taste leans to the conservative with a clear preference for representational--as opposed to abstract--art. Not a music or dance fan. Loves film and has a large collection of 19th-Century American art. Chairman of Senate Foreign Relations Committee, member of the Labor and Human Resources Committee and subcommittee on education, arts and humanities. Educated at Princeton University and Columbia University. Stepmother, Olive Bigelow Pell, was a portraitist. An original sponsor of legislation that established the NEA and NEH in 1965.

Thirteen Other Senators and Representatives Identified as Key Arts Supporters

REP. THOMAS COLEMAN, 47, Missouri Republican. First elected 1976. District in northwest Missouri includes northern Kansas City. Appreciator of classical music. Member of Congressional Arts Caucus since 1984. Second-ranking Republican on House Education and Labor Committee and ranking minority member of subcommittee that will originate legislation to extend the life of the NEA. Educated at William Jewell College in Liberty, Mo., New York University and Washington University in St. Louis. In Washington he attends events at the National Gallery and of the National Symphony. Position on NEA reauthorization subcommittee makes Coleman one of the most powerful Republican arts advocates in Congress.

REP. LES AuCOIN, 47, Oregon Democrat. First elected 1974. District includes Portland west of the Willamette River. Main artistic interests are modern American literature and theater, and his district office in Portland regularly showcases the work of Oregon artists. Collects works by Pacific Northwest artists. Member of the Congressional Arts Caucus since 1982. Member of the House Appropriations Committee and the interior subcommittee. Graduated from Pacific University in Forest Grove, Ore. Favorite cultural activity in Washington is attending theater and visiting art galleries. On free-speech grounds, voted against legislation to outlaw destruction of the American flag. Considered an advocate of working artists and artistic freedom.

REP. BILL GREEN, 60, New York Republican. First elected in 1978. District includes central and east Manhattan, the theater district and many of the nation's premier arts centers, including the Whitney, Guggenheim and Museum of Modern Art. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is immediately adjacent to district. Appreciates classical music, especially chamber music. Member of Congressional Arts Caucus since 1979. Member of the House Appropriations Committee and the ranking Republican on its housing and urban development and independent agencies subcommittee. Educated at Harvard College and Harvard Law School. Favorite cultural activity in Washington is attending openings at the National Gallery.

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