Among the six people President Obama recently selected to join his Committee on the Arts and the Humanities was its first painter/photographer, Chuck Close. He’s the first visual artist to be chosen for the advisory panel, which is already full of actors and great business minds. Close first earned fame as a photorealist with his massive-scale portraits in the 1970s and continued to work after what he infamously deemed “The Event” in 1988, when a spinal artery collapse left him paralyzed from the neck down. The artist joins Ken Solomon, chairman of the arts-oriented Ovation TV cable network; Pamela Joyner, a San Francisco arts philanthropist; and L.A. architect Thom Mayne, among others in the writing, musical, dance, and Hollywood worlds. According to the committee’s Web site, Close and the other esteemed members will work to “initiate and support” programs of the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. They are also responsible for encouraging private-public partnerships in the arts and culture.