Maria Rosario Jackson, a professor at Arizona State University and a native of Los Angeles, has been selected by President Joe Biden as his nominee to chair to National Endowment for the Arts.
The White House also announced that Biden would nominate Shelly Lowe as chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Jackson and Lowe must be confirmed by the Senate.
Both agencies were established in 1965 to provide government grants to arts and humanities organizations and projects.
Jackson already has been a member of the National Council on the Arts, which oversees the NEA, and was a co-chair of the County of Los Angeles Cultural Equity and Inclusion Initiative. She continues to serve as an advisory board member.
She also is on the board of the the Los Angeles County Music Center, the Association of Arts Administration Educators and the Alliance for California Traditional Arts. She also is on the advisory board of L.A. Commons, as well as the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, the Equity Center at the University of Virginia and the Strong, Prosperous and Resilient Communities Challenge
If confirmed, she will be the first African American and Mexican American to serve as chair.
Lowe would be the first Native American to serve as chair of the NEH. She grew up on the Navajo Reservation in Ganado, AZ, and is currently a member of the National Council on the Humanities. She has been executive director of the Harvard University Native American Program, assistant dean in the Yale College Deans Office and director of the Native American Cultural Center at Yale University.
The Trump administration proposed eliminating funding for both agencies, but those efforts went nowhere in Congress. Instead, the agencies have seen their appropriations increase during the period. Biden has yet to nominate members to the National Council on the Arts, a body that includes Jackson as well as Lee Greenwood and Tom Rothman, among others.
In a statement, Jackson said, “I am continuously inspired by the myriad ways in which artists, designers, and culture bearers make a difference, whether it be through celebrated national and international careers or through careers where artists are embedded in our communities, institutions, and organizations helping us to see and act in new ways as we move towards a more perfect union.
“The National Endowment for the Arts is a stellar agency with a solid track record and immense potential as a crucial ally in healing our country and advancing our nation in so many ways. I am honored and thrilled to help shape the critical role of the agency in the years ahead.”
She and her husband, David K. Riddick, live in Los Angeles and Phoenix. She earned a doctorate in urban planning from UCLA and a masters in public administration from USC.
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