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President names Kennedy Center Trustees

President Obama appointed four new trustees to the board of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, his office announced late Thursday.

The new members are Gordon J. Davis, a New York attorney and the former president of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc.;Fred Eychaner, the founder of Alphawood Foundation in Chicago and chairman of the Joffrey Ballet; Charles B. Ortner, a New York-based entertainment attorney and legal counsel to the GRAMMY organization; and Penny Pritzker, chairman of the Pritzker Realty Group and former chairman of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. She was also national finance chair of the Obama presidential campaign.

Their terms are for six years, starting immediately.


Penny Pritzker. (Reuters)

Of the four 2 are from New York; 2 from Chicago.

All have serious arts and entertainment credentials. Ortner's client list reads like a Who's Who of Music, having represented Madonna, Lady Gaga, Sting, Janet and Michael Jackson, U2, The Eagles, Bon Jovi, John Legend, Bonnie Raitt and Shania Twain. He's also president of the Kanye West Foundation.

Now that ought to bring some high-voltage power to the Kennedy Center's galas and awards programs.

Pritzker has long been a prominent businesswoman and philanthropist. In addition to the real estate and hotel businesses, she is chairman of a Chicago fund that raises private equity to invest in Chicago's public schools.

Both Davis and Ortner worked for New York City Mayor John V. Lindsay early in their careers. Davis was also the commissioner of Parks and Recreation under Mayor Edward I. Koch and co-founder of the Central Park Conservancy. He is the founding chairman of Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Before he made gazillions with broadcast properties, Eychaner worked as a sportswriter during high school and as a radio announcer while a student at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. A major, major financial contributor to the Democratic Party, he is the chairman of Newsweb Corporation and is the former director of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago and a life trustee of the Art Institute of Chicago. His home, designed by the prize-winning architect Tadao Ando, was the site of an Obama fund-raiser with the now First Lady, Michelle Obama.

By Jacqueline Trescott  | September 24, 2010; 10:35 AM ET
Categories:  Architecture, Jacqueline Trescott, Kennedy Center  | Tags:  Kennedy Center  
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