by John Ellis from the FRESNO BEE on
For third-generation Del Rey farmer and award-winning author David Mas Masumoto, it felt like an 11th-hour blur.
On New Year’s Day, the U.S. Senate took on a slew of last-minute confirmations.
There were, among others, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army promotions and Tennessee Valley Authority and State Justice Institute board of directors and Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation Advisory Board appointments.
Nearly all the way through, Masumoto’s June appointment by President Barack Obama to the National Council on the Arts was approved.
Masumoto got an email from the White House the following day. He flies Washington, D.C. in Feb for orientation and to be sworn in. The first formal meeting is in March.
“I’m very excited about the possibilities, but also know the realities,” Masumoto said. “The total (National Endowment for the Arts) budget is small if you compare it with other programs.”
But Masumoto also noted his term is six years — until September 3, 2018 — “so perhaps there’s some time to learn how things are done and navigate through the system.”
Masumoto sees the appointment as a chance to “meet and see the art world from a national perspective.”
At the same time, Masumoto wants to share some of not only California — but the Valley — with the nation.
“California is more than the Bay area and So Cal, and we in the Valley do have our own special art to showcase,” he said. “At least, this is my hope.”