The Federal Council on the Arts and on the Humanities, for which Joan Mondale has been named honorary chairwoman, will have offices in the Executive Office Building and a budget of "a few hundred thousand dollars," the council's new deputy chairman said following a White House news conference yesterday.
The council, which has had no full-time staff, is being revived to conduct a policy review of the government's cultural activities. It will function as a sort of White House clearing house for cultural affairs, and will report to the president's domestic policy council, said Stuart E. Eizenstat, that council's head.
Those federal agencies represented on the council - among them the arts and humanities endowments, the State Department, the Smithsonian, and both houses of Congress - will provide the needed operating funds, said Peter Kyros Jr. Kyras, now deputy counsel to the vice president, was named deputy chairman.
Mrs. Mondale's appointment is expected to increase her visibility in the government's cultural hierarchy. "The council has long been moribund," said Sen. Claiborne Pell (D.-R.I.). "Mrs. Mondale's presence will give it the oomph it needs."
"I hope that people around the country, and throughout the government, will contact me," Mrs. Mondale said yesterday. "I expect the report that we produce to become a major item on the agenda of the proposed White House Conferences on the Arts and on the Humanities."
The House last week, by a vote of 341 to 65, passed a bill sponsored by Rep. John Brademas (D.-Ind.) calling for two sets of conferences, one on the arts, one on the humanities, to be held during 1978 and 1979 in each of the 50 states. Those meetings would be followed by White House conferences in 1979 in which state delegates would participate. Similar legislation is now before the Senate.