Cultural policy expert will also give address at May 12 commencement
Watkins College of Art, Design & Film will award the Honorary Degree, Doctor of Fine Arts to Bill Ivey, one of the nation’s leading scholars and writers on art, expression and cultural policy, during graduation ceremonies on Saturday, May 12. Mr. Ivey will also deliver the commencement address to the 2012 class. Held at the Downtown Presbyterian Church beginning at 2 p.m., Watkins’ commencement is free and the public is invited.
“Bill Ivey’s contributions to the arts and cultural policy are large and ground-breaking,” said Ellen L. Meyer, president of Watkins College of Art, Design & Film. “His insights will certainly benefit the graduating seniors.”
Mr. Ivey is founding director of the Curb Center for Art, Enterprise and Public Policy at Vanderbilt, a university-based research center dedicated to designing a new road map for cultural policy in America. He also directs the Center’s Washington-based program for senior government career staff, the Arts Industries Policy Forum. Mr. Ivey served as team leader for arts and humanities on the 2008 Barack Obama Presidential Transition Team, and during his tenure as seventh chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts (1998 to 2001), his leadership was credited with restoring Congressional confidence in the work of the NEA. His Challenge America Initiative, launched in 1999, has to date garnered more than $20 million in new Congressional appropriations for the arts endowment.
Prior to government service, Mr. Ivey was director of the Country Music Foundation in Nashville (1971-1998) and was twice elected board chairman of the Los Angeles-based National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. A four-time Grammy Award nominee (best album notes category), he is the author of numerous articles on U.S. cultural policy and folk and popular music, and his provocative Arts, Inc.: How Greed and Neglect Have Destroyed Our Cultural Rights (University of California Press, 2008) has been described as “not just a vital book about the arts but a vital book about democracy.”
A former president of the American Folklore Society, Mr. Ivey holds a B.A. in history from the University of Michigan and an M.A. in folklore and ethnomusicology from Indiana University.