WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden on June 23 announced his intent to nominate the 17 individuals to serve in key roles, including Jake Shimabukuro as a member of the National Council on the Arts.
Shimabukuro is a career ukulele player who wide experience in the arts. He first gained notice in the late 1990s with the popular musical group Pure Heart. After the group dissolved, his fame as a solo artist spread throughout Hawaii and eventually to Japan. There, in 2001, Shimabukuro signed a historic deal with Epic Records/Sony Music, which formed the basis of a career punctuated by a string of hit albums and standing-room-only audiences.
Shimabukuro has also played with world-renowned orchestras and at prestigious venues such as the Hollywood Bowl, Lincoln Center, and Sydney Opera House, and at music festivals including Bonnaroo, SXSW and Fuji Rock Festival. He has also performed for Queen Elizabeth II.
Shimabukuro continues to write and record, while maintaining an international concert schedule of 140 live performances a year. He is a loving husband and proud father of two boys. In addition to balancing his career with family, Shimabukuro also remains firmly rooted in his commitment to community, frequently performing at schools in Hawaii and overseas to urge kids to “say no to drugs” and inspire them to find their passion.
In the process, Shimabukuro has served as a Pied Piper in the booming popularity of the ukulele, spreading his belief that the world would be a better place if everyone played the ukulele.
Also nominated to the council were Ismael N. Ahmed, Kinan Azmeh, Kamilah Forbes, Huascar Medina, Christopher Kaui Morgan, Fiona Whelan Prine, and Constance Hess Williams. The nominations have been sent to the Senate. If confirmed, Shimabukuro’s term would expire on Sept. 3, 2024.
Outgoing council members include organic farmer and author David “Mas” Masumoto of Del Rey (Fresno County). His books include “Wisdom of the Last Farmer,” “Heirlooms,” “Letters to the Valley,” “Four Seasons in Five Senses,” “Harvest Son,” and “Epitaph for a Peach.” Council members continue to serve even after their terms expire until their replacements are confirmed by the Senate.
The National Council on the Arts advises the chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, who also chairs the council, on agency policies and programs. It reviews and makes recommendations to the chairman on applications for grants, funding guidelines, and leadership initiatives.
The council was established through the National Arts and Cultural Development Act of 1964, a full year before the federal agency was created by congressional legislation. Its first members were appointed by President Lyndon Johnson and included noted artists such as Ralph Ellison, Paul Engle, Elizabeth Ashley, Gregory Peck, Oliver Smith, William Pereira, Minoru Yamasaki, George Stevens Sr., Leonard Bernstein, Agnes de Mille, David Smith, and Isaac Stern.