Arts policy center strengthens D.C. clout

Click here for a high resolution version of the photo. WASHINGTON, D.C.ó The Curb Center for Art, Enterprise and Public Policy at Vanderbilt has increased its presence in the nation’s capital with the addition of Paula Cleggett as associate director for policy. Cleggett begins the two-year assignment on loan by special arrangement from NASA, where she has served for the last six years as deputy associate administrator for public affairs, the agency’s No. 2 national public affairs position.

The appointment allows the Nashville-based Curb Center to maintain a full-time, experienced presence in the nation’s capital, the focal point for many key policy decisions affecting American art and culture.

"Paula’s strong credentials give the Curb Center’s Washington office a unique opportunity to hit the ground running," said Bill Ivey, the center’s director. "Her hands-on experience working with the arts, entertainment and news industries ñ coupled with her deep personal interest in arts issues ñ is an invaluable bonus. It’s great to have her aboard."

According to Ivey, who served as chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts before joining Vanderbilt, the Curb Center is the first university-based policy program to fully explore the five sources of cultural policy in the United States: the decisions of individual actors in the arts industries; corporate practice; trade agreements and regulatory agencies; the passions and objectives of private arts patrons and non-governmental organizations (NGOs); and intellectual property law.

In addition to her primary role with the Curb Center, Cleggett will assist Vanderbilt’s D.C. staff as they engage a wide range of Washington audiences, including news media, think tanks, national associations, philanthropic organizations, the executive branch and Congress. However, since she is still officially a federal employee during the term of the loan, Cleggett will not engage in direct lobbying on appropriations bills.

The ability to bring someone of Cleggett’s caliber from NASA to Vanderbilt is made possible by the Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA). The act is intended to promote cross-fertilization of ideas and practices between federal agencies and other non-profit sectors like higher education and state and local governments.

At NASA Cleggett’s work has included oversight of the agency’s extensive fine arts program, established more than five decades ago, which includes hundreds of specially commissioned pieces, many from some of the nation’s most famous artists. During her management of the program, it was expanded beyond paintings to include poetry, musical compositions and Web-art.

Cleggett has negotiated agreements with the IMAX Corporation for the production of large-format (70mm) movies about space and managed NASA’s cooperation with Hollywood studios on space-themed feature films including Space Cowboys and Deep Impact. She also has been engaged extensively with intellectual property issues involving use of the NASA "brand" in the retail and entertainment industries.

Since joining NASA in 1987, Cleggett’s responsibilities have included three years as director of the public service division, overseeing a wide range of public outreach activities, including astronaut appearances, guest operations for launches, an international exhibits program, and a host of special events. Her earlier federal service included stints at both the U.S. Treasury and Energy departments.

Cleggett served on the board of the Life Skills Center, a Washington-based organization for severely mentally disabled adults, where she facilitated a highly successful art program aimed at enhancing self-expression. She holds a bachelor’s degree in art education from the University of Wisconsin, Platteville and a master’s in journalism from the University of Wisconsin ñ Madison.

Media contact: David Glasgow, (615) 322-NEWS

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