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Determination of the Chairperson of the National Endowment for the Arts Regarding Potential Closure of Portions of Meetings of the National Council on the Arts

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Section 6(f) of the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act of 1965, as amended (20 U.S.C. 951 et seq.) authorizes the National Council on the Arts to review applications for financial assistance to the National Endowment for the Arts and make recommendations to the Chairperson.

The Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), as amended (Pub. L. 92-463) governs the formation, use, conduct, management, and accessibility to the public of committees formed to advise the Federal Government. Section 10 of that Act directs meetings of advisory committees to be open to the public, except where the head of the agency to which the advisory committee reports determines in writing that a portion of a meeting may be closed to the public consistent with subsection (c) of section 552b of Title 5, United States Code (the Government in the Sunshine Act.)

It is the policy of the National Endowment for the Arts that meetings of the National Council on the Arts be conducted in open session, including those parts during which applications are reviewed. However, in recognition that the Endowment is required to consider the artistic excellence and artistic merit of applications for financial assistance and that consideration of individual applications may require a discussion of matters such as an individual artist's abilities, reputation among colleagues, or professional background and performance, I have determined to reserve the right to close limited portions of Council meetings if such information is to be discussed. The purpose of the closure is to protect information of a personal nature where disclosure would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. Closure for this purpose is authorized by subsection (c)(6) of section 552b of Title 5 United States code.

Additionally, at one of its meetings, the Council will consider prospective nominees for the National Medal of Arts award in order to advise the President of the United States in his final selection of National Medal of Arts recipients. During this session, similar information of a personal nature will be discussed. As with applications for financial assistance, disclosure of this information about individuals who are under consideration for the award would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

Therefore, in light of the above, I have determined that the portion of the July 2004 Council meeting, devoted to consideration of prospective nominees for the National Medal of Arts award, may be closed to the public. Closure for these purposes is authorized by subsections (c)(6) of section 552b of Title 5, United States Code. A record shall be maintained of any closed portion of the Council meeting. Further, in accordance with the FACA, a notice of any intent to close any portion of the Council meeting will be published in the Federal Register.

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Start Printed Page 21870

Dated: April 14, 2004.

Dana Gioia, Chairman,

National Endowment for the Arts.

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[FR Doc. 04-9090 Filed 4-21-04; 8:45 am]

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