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Joy Harjo set to be inducted into 'American Academy of Arts and Letters,' as the instititution expands and diversifies / AP

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AP's HILLEL ITALIE writes...... One of the country's oldest cultural instititutions, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, is undergoing some of its biggest changes in more than a century. For the first time since 1908, the academy is expanding its core membership, from 250 artists in literature, music and art and architecture, to 300 by 2025. And this year's inductees, 33 of them, are the largest and most diverse group in recent memory. They range from U.S. poet laureate Joy Harjo and author-journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates to jazz great Wynton Marsalis and visual artist Betye Saar, who at 94 is the oldest new inductee since Roger Angell was voted in at 94 in 2015.

The May induction ceremony, when members usually gather at the academy's beaux arts complex in Upper Manhattan, will be held virtually because of the coronavirus.

Harjo, the first Native American to be appointed U.S. poet laureate, said she looked forward to having an influence on future academy choices. "There are so many incredible Native visual artists," she told the AP, while also citing such authors as N. Scott Momaday and Leslie Marmon Silko.

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