Joan Mondale, honorary chairperson of the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities, yesterday announced the creation of a new federal position: special counsel for arts and education.
Vince Lindstrom, 37, an arts administrator from the Fargo, N.D., public schools, will serve in the post as advocate for the arts at the local school level. He will also function as a red-tape cutter for local agencies that find themselves shuffled from one government agency to another in their efforts to get aid and funding for programs.
"Often people interested in the arts have found themselves between two agencies," Mondale said at a press conference yesterday attended by National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Livingston Biddle, National Endowment for the Humanities Chairman Joseph Duffey, Assistant Secretary for Education Mary F. Berry and Willard Boyd, head of the National Council on the Arts' task force on education.
"Now there's one person you can go to with ideas," said Mrs. Mondale, who called the cration of the office a "history making" event. "It marks the first time two federal agencies - the Arts Endowment and the Office of Education - made a joint appointment."
"I came out of the bush being a critic of the government process," said Lindstrom after the press conference at the Hubert Humphrey Building offices of HEW. "You go to the Office of Education and they say go to the Endowment. You go to the Endowment and they say go to the Office of Education. Now, I'll have no one to blame but myself."
The intense and enthusiastic Lindstrom is a former arts administrator in Connecticut and Massachusets. In Fargo, he developed the "Fargo Plan" for arts education which has since become a national model. He came to Mondales' attention on one of her trips out west. "I was impressed that the arts were an important part of the Fargo schools," she said.
"The key is to go out into the field," said Lindstrom, who plans to meet with state school organizations as well as local ones. "During the next two years I hope to cover as many of the states as possible."
"Someone in Oshkosh, Wis., might have a good idea for an arts program but not know where to take it," he said.
"I hope one of the things Vince will do is to find resources outside of the education department," said Mary Berry, "and get the message across to local schools that the arts are important and shouldn't be the first things to go in budget crunches in local communities."