On Tuesday, President Biden announced four new appointments to the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts (CFA), replacing three late-term additions by the previous administration as well as the current CFA chair, Justin Shubow, according to reports from Peggy McGlone for the Washington Post and Elizabeth Blair for NPR.
The new appointees, whose roles are not subject to Senate review, are Peter Cook, Hazel Ruth Edwards, Justin Garrett Moore, and Billie Tsien, which begins to reshape the body of the CFA into one that is deliberately more diverse than the all-white-male makeup it was under the most recent set of appointments.
Moore, one of President Biden’s choices for the CFA, noted this lack of diversity following the latest additions made by the outgoing president on January 12, 2021. Cook is a Principal at HGA Architects, Edwards is the first woman to chair Howard University's Department of Architecture in the College of Engineering and Architecture, while Moore is now Program Officer for Humanities in Place at the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Billie Tsien leads an eponymous architectural practice with her husband Tod Williams in New York.
On Monday, as reported by The Federalist, the Biden administration sent letters to architect Steven Spandle, landscape architect Perry Guillot, sculptor Chas Fagan, and commission chairman Justin Shubow, asking for their resignations. Fagan accepted the resignation, and according to Shubow, the others now face termination.
These four slots will be filled by the new appointments and leave three existing appointments from Trump’s presidency: Rodney Mims Cook Jr., and AIA members James C. McCrery II and Duncan Stroik.
The CFA is a seven-member body with expertise in the arts, whose members serve four-year terms without compensation and are appointed by the President. The CFA, in an advisory capacity, oversees new architecture and historic renovations in much of the District of Columbia. Notable works that the CFA has been involved with include Freelon Adjaye Bond’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, Maya Lin’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the preservation of Union Station, and the Eisenhower Memorial by Gehry Partners.