*Editor's note: The Daily Wildcat, like many other local and national news outlets, continues to provide considerable coverage of the coronavirus pandemic and its effect on the University of Arizona community. While we continue to cover all things COVID-19 related, we also plan to resume traditional news coverage – ensuring the efforts of students, faculty and staff alike don't go unnoticed as the 2019-2020 school year comes to an end.
Professor Daniel Asia of the University of Arizona has been nominated to the National Council on the Arts.
Asia is a professor of music (composition) at the university’s Fred Fox School of Music. According to his profile on the Fred Fox School of Music website, Asia has composed five symphonies and received an Academy Award in Music from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2010.
“First, being a professor at the [UA],” Asia said when asked about his proudest accomplishments. “Second, receiving … an Academy Award from the Academy of Arts and Letters.”
If appointed, Asia would fulfill one of 18 seats on the National Council on the Arts.
According to its website, the council advises the chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. It “reviews and makes recommendations to the Chairman on applications for grants, funding guidelines, and leadership initiatives.”
In addition, the council also recommends distinguished individuals and organizations within the arts community to receive the National Medal of Arts, a “Presidential award in recognition of outstanding contributions to the arts in America.”
Rex Woods is the Interim Director for the Fred Fox School of Music and a professor of music. Both he and Asia have taught at the University of Arizona since 1988.
"[Asia] is deeply engaged in thinking and writing about the nature of excellence in the arts, how the arts connect with other ways of knowing, music as an essential trait of humanity, and what constitutes human achievement in the arts," Woods told the Daily Wildcat in an email. "We are all very proud of his appointment to the council and the opportunity it affords to share the story of Arizona Arts with the rest of the nation."
Asia’s nomination to the council comes at a time when funding for the arts is in danger of being eliminated. The Creative Coalition, a nonprofit organization focused on educating society on issues and current events pertaining to the arts, recently released a statement condemning the White House’s proposed budget for the 2021 fiscal year, which would completely eliminate funding for the National Endowment for the Arts.
"The Creative Coalition urges everyone touched by the arts to speak out against President Trump’s proposal to end funding for the National Endowment for the Arts," the Creative Coalition said in their statement.
Brandon Good is a freshman majoring in neuroscience and cognitive science and minoring in music.
“The fact that we have representation from someone from Arizona means that we’ll have someone who will be able to address and understand our specific needs,” Good said. “Especially now, that the White House wants to cut funding to the Arts, it’ll be inspiring to see a professor from Arizona represent us and the music community.”
Asia’s nomination is awaiting approval from the U.S. Senate, upon which he will be appointed to a chair on the National Council on the Arts.
Follow Kristijan Barnjak on Twitter