Created in 1982 under President Reagan, the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH) is an advisory committee to the White House on cultural issues. PCAH works directly with the three primary cultural agencies—National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, and Institute of Museum and Library Services—as well as other federal partners and the private sector, to address policy questions in the arts and humanities, to initiate and support key programs in those disciplines, and to recognize excellence in the field. Its core areas of focus are arts and humanities education and cultural exchange.
Under the leadership of the First Lady, PCAH’s Honorary Chairman, and through the efforts of its federal and private Members, the President’s Committee has compiled an impressive legacy over its tenure, conducting major research and policy analysis, and catalyzing important federal cultural programs, both domestic and international. These achievements rely on the President’s Committee’s unique role in bringing together the White House, federal agencies, civic organizations, corporations, foundations, and individuals to strengthen the United States' national investment in its cultural life.
Central to the PCAH mission is using the power of the arts and humanities to contribute to the vibrancy of our society, the education of our children, the creativity of our citizens, and the strength of our democracy.
Examples of the President's Committee's accomplishments over the years:
- Led an historic cultural delegation to Cuba in April 2016 comprising prominent artists and the highest ranking leaders in U.S. cultural institutions;
- Catalyzed the federal Save America's Treasures (1999) to leverage public/private investment in our nation's cultural and historic resources;
- Created the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards (formerly Coming Up Taller) to encourage and support exemplary after-school and out-of-school arts and humanities programs;
- Formulated recommendations for President Clinton in Creative America (1997) on advancing the nation’s interdependent cultural support system;
- Convened the U.S. Cultural & Heritage Tourism Summit (2005) to develop a national strategy for cultural and heritage tourism for the benefit of the nation’s economy and communities; and
- Led an unprecedented cultural delegation to China in 2007.