Award-Winning Poet and Former NEA Chair Appointed to Postmaster General's Stamp Selection Committee

Jan 22, 2010, 08:02 ET from U.S. Postal Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- An internationally acclaimed award-winning poet and two renown designers join the committee that reviews topics and people to be honored and commemorated on U.S. postage stamps.

Postmaster General John Potter today announced the retirement of two members of the Citizen's Stamp Advisory Committee and the addition of three new members. The committee annually reviews stamp suggestions from 50,000 Americans before recommending approximately 20 topics for the Postmaster General's approval.  

New members are internationally acclaimed award-winning poet and past chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts Dana Gioia of Washington, D.C. He will be joined by two international award-winning graphic designers Antonio Alcala of Alexandria, VA, and Eric Madsen of Minneapolis, MN. Lifelong stamp collector, philatelic writer, editor, researcher, exhibitor and lecturer John Hotchner, and patron of the arts and former second lady Joan Mondale will leave the committee.

"We are truly grateful to John for his invaluable experience and years of service to the committee and to Joan for her fine arts influence on the stamp program and for their time and unwavering commitment to making the Postal Service's stamp program second to none," said Potter. "I would also like to thank Dana, Antonio and Eric for stepping forward to lend their enthusiasm, dedication and expertise in the future development of our world-class stamp program."    

Dana Gioia

Referred to by Business Week magazine as "The Man Who Saved the NEA," Gioia served two terms as Chair of the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) and was responsible for "The Big Read," the largest literary program in the federal government's history. He is an internationally acclaimed and award-winning poet who has published three full-length collections. His poetry collection, Interrogations at Noon, won the 2002 American Book Award. An influential critic as well, Gioia's 1991 volume Can Poetry Matter?, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle award, is credited with helping revive the role of poetry in American public culture. As Chairman of the NEA, Gioia succeeded in garnering enthusiastic bi-partisan support in the U.S. Congress for the mission of the Arts Endowment, and strengthened the national consensus in favor of public funding for the arts and arts education.

Antonio Alcala

Alcala graduated from Yale University with a BA in history and from the Yale School of Art with a master's of Fine Arts in graphic design. After working as a book designer and freelance graphic designer, Alcala opened Studio A in Alexandria, VA, in 1988. His studio won awards from local, national and international design institutions including the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA), Print, Communication Arts and Graphis for excellence in design. Alcala is an adjunct faculty member of the Corcoran College of Art and Design and founder of the design education program DesignWorkshops. He is past president of the Art Directors Club of Metropolitan Washington. In 2008 the AIGA Washington, D.C., chapter selected Alcala as its AIGA Fellow. His work is represented in the AIGA Design Archives and the Library of Congress Permanent Collection of Graphic Design.

Eric Madsen

In a graphic design career spanning 40 years, Madsen's work has been recognized nationally and internationally by such organizations and publications as the AIGA, the Society of Typographic Arts, the Society of Publication Designers, the Type Director's Club of New York, magazines such as Applied Arts (Canada), Communication Arts, Critique, Idea (Japan), Graphis, Print, and by the numerous art director's clubs nationwide. Madsen is a past member of the national board of directors of the AIGA, and a founding board member of the AIGA/Minnesota chapter. He has served as a member of the board of trustees of the College of Visual Arts, St. Paul, and the board of directors of the Minnesota Center for Book Arts. His fine art has been recognized by the Minneapolis Foundation, the Francis Hardy Center for the Arts and the Miller Art Museum.

John Hotchner

During his 12-year committee tenure, Hotchner helped select more than 1,700 stamps — 40 percent of all U.S. stamps issued. One of the highlights of his tenure was his support for the 2006 Distinguished American Diplomats stamps. He is a past president of the American Philatelic Society (APS) and served on the United States Stamp Society board of governors, the American Association of Philatelic Exhibitors, the Virginia Philatelic Federation, and more than 20 other national clubs and societies, including the Dolley Madison Stamp Club of McLean, VA.  A member of the Council of Philatelists of the Smithsonian Institution's National Postal Museum, Hotchner also contributes time and materials to "Stamps for the Wounded," an organization serving patients at Veterans Affairs hospitals.  He was awarded the APS Luff Award and the USSS Hopkinson Literature Award. In 2005, he received the Alfred F. Lichtenstein Memorial Award from the Collectors Club of New York.  

Joan Mondale

Mondale contributed to selecting more than 500 stamps since joining the committee in April 2005. Her expertise as noted advocate of the arts for more than 40 years was instrumental to developing the Abstract Expressionists stamps that will be issued March 11. In 1977, President Jimmy Carter named her honorary chairperson of the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities. She helped develop the Northern Clay Center, a Minneapolis, MN, gallery and studio dedicated to the ceramic arts. In May 2004, the Textile Center of Minneapolis, which she also helped establish, dedicated a gallery in her honor. She was a trustee of Macalester College and served on the board of directors of the Walker Art Center, the Minnesota Orchestra, and the National Portrait Gallery.

Members of the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee are appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the Postmaster General. The committee, established in 1957, is composed of 15 members, whose backgrounds reflect a wide range of educational, artistic, historical and professional expertise. All share an interest in philately and fulfilling the needs of postal customers.

A self-supporting government enterprise, the U.S. Postal Service is the only delivery service that reaches every address in the nation, 150 million residences, businesses and Post Office Boxes. The Postal Service receives no tax dollars. With 36,000 retail locations and the most frequently visited website in the federal government, the Postal Service relies on the sale of postage, products and services to pay for operating expenses. Named the Most Trusted Government Agency five consecutive years and the third Most Trusted Business in the nation by the Ponemon Institute, the Postal Service has annual revenue of more than $68 billion and delivers nearly half the world's mail. If it were a private sector company, the U.S. Postal Service would rank 28th in the 2009 Fortune 500.

SOURCE U.S. Postal Service