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The Daily Tar Heel

Kang selected for national arts council


Emil Kang, Executive director for the arts at UNC was nominated by President Obama to serve on the National Council on the Arts.

One of UNC’s own has been nominated by President Barack Obama to serve on the National Council on the Arts.

Emil Kang, executive director for the arts at UNC, has been with the University since 2005 and is also the ex-officio for the Carolina Performing Arts National Advisory Board.

Kang currently co-teaches artistic entrepreneurship classes.

Before becoming one of the council’s 14 members, Kang will have to undergo a Senate confirmation process.

Kang introduced UNC’s first major performing arts series, Carolina Performing Arts, which was done in conjunction with the reopening of Memorial Hall.

The council convenes three times each year and advises the National Endowment for the Arts on grant funds, leadership initiatives and policy direction.

Pending Senate confirmation, Kang will serve a six-year term.

Kang said he has been instructed by the White House not to comment on the nomination. He said he assumes this is due to the upcoming Senate confirmation process.

Kang will still be working at the University, said Ellen James, marketing manager for Carolina Performing Arts.

“Nothing will change with his current position at UNC,” James said.

Presidential appointments to the council are based on an individuals achievements and service to the development of art programs. Nominees are chosen from all geographic regions of the country.

Kang has previously served as the president and executive director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and has held positions with the American Composers Orchestra and Seattle Symphony Orchestra.

Maria Lopez De Leon, who is the executive director for the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture, was nominated alongside Kang for the council.

“I am proud that such experienced and committed individuals have agreed to serve the American people in these important roles,” Obama said in a press release. “I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead.”

Senior Ryan Dickey, who has met Kang several times through the Kenan Music Scholars program and as a music performance major, said Kang’s expertise in the arts and passion for people make him a perfect candidate for the National Council on the Arts.

“As a music student, seeing symphony orchestras and classical ensembles at Memorial Hall has been fundamental in my growth as a musician here,” Dickey said.

“It is obvious that Emil Kang has keen eyes and ears for the arts,” Dickey said. “He is equally marked with a warm personality, and has an intensity and enthusiasm for life that is noticeable on the first impression.”

The council was founded in 1964 and its inaugural members included prominent artists such as Nobel Prize winning author John Steinbeck. Its next meeting will be in July.

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