Livingston L. Biddle Jr., an aide to Sen. Claiborne Pell (D-R.I.) and director of the Senate Subcommittee on Education, Arts and Humanities, was recommended yesterday to President Carter as the new chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts.
A five-member search committee delivered its report to presidential assistant Hamilton Jordan at the White House late yesterday afternoon. Biddle, one of 10 candidates being considered by the Committee, was the sole person recommended for the $52,000-a-year post.
Carter has yet to meet with Biddle, and White House sources said yesterday that an interview is expected before any formal announcement is made by the President.
Biddle was attending a Federal/State Partnership Conference on the Arts in Snow Bird, Utah, yesterday and could not be reached for comment.
Should Carter nominate him, Biddle will undergo an intensive F.B.I. investigation. His nomination must also be approved by the Senate. White House sources said yesterday that if the President acts quickly, a nominee could be ready to assume leadership of the Endowment on Oct. 2. This is the date Nancy Hanks leaves the post she has held for eight years.
While Hanks' leadele Hank's leadership was marked largely by expansion - the Endowment's budget rose from $11 to $114 million during her tenure - Biddle's nomination is seen by many arts observers as a signal of an era of consolidation.
"The advocacy organizations, the opera pople, and the people who support museums or the theater, and the state and community people have to work with one another if the federal budget for the arts is to significantly increase," Biddle said a month ago, as he was only lobbying for the job. "Special interest groups defeat one another's efforts. They should form a united front."