Landesman succeeds Dana Gioia in the position.
Landesman told the Times, "This historically has not been a great job — or not for a long time — and the challenge will be to make it one and to really accomplish something."
Robert L. Lynch, the president and CEO of Americans for the Arts — the leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts in America — said in a statement, "Today's Senate confirmation of Rocco Landesman to serve as the next National Endowment for the Arts chair and Congressman Jim Leach to serve as National Endowment for the Humanities chair marks a moment of great opportunity for our nation's cultural agencies. Landesman embarks as Chair of the nation's arts agency with a robust agenda, an upward trajectory of funding, broad Congressional approval, and a White House committed to attracting national attention to the value of the arts and integrating them into broader domestic policies.
"The arts are a powerful force in our lives, schools, and communities. Both the nonprofit and for-profit arts have grown as the creative industries have dramatically expanded and become a core part of America and its economy. An effective and innovative NEA, one that aspires to its core values of broadening access to the creation and presentation of artistic excellence along with a dedication of forging new partnerships and opportunities for artists and their audiences, will not only strengthen the arts industry but maximize the social and economic benefits the arts provide throughout the country."
Some of the hits Landesman has backed as producer: the award-winning plays Doubt, Proof, Love! Valour! Compassion!, Angels in America, The Grapes of Wrath and The Piano Lesson; the Tony-winning musicals Jersey Boys, The Producers and Big River; the Tony-winning revivals of Guys and Dolls, Sweeney Todd, Nine and Kiss Me, Kate; and the Tony-winning revival of Death of a Salesman. Congress created the National Endowment for the Arts in 1965.