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Senate Confirms Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson as National Endowment for the Arts Chair, 1st African American and Mexican American to Lead the NEA

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Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson was confirmed by the U.S Senate on Saturday as Chair of the National Endowment for the Arts.  Jackson is the first African American and Mexican American to lead the organization.

To quote The Washington Post:

Jackson, 56, earned a doctorate in urban planning from the University of California at Los Angeles, and she’s a professor at Arizona State University and a sought-after speaker on how to embed arts, culture and design into community life. Jackson previously worked at the Urban Institute, a think tank in Washington.

In 2013, President Barack Obama appointed her to the National Council on the Arts, the panel that advises the endowment. She has served on many boards of arts organizations, including the Smithsonian’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage and the Music Center in Los Angeles, where she lives.

President Biden made the historic nomination in October, during National Arts and Humanities Month. At the same time, he nominated Shelly Lowe to be the first Native American to lead the National Endowment for the Humanities. Lowe’s nomination has not been confirmed.

In a statement released by the NEA, Jackson thanked President Biden for the opportunity and said she plans to lead the institution with “dedication to inclusivity, collaboration, and with the recognition that art, culture, and creativity are core to us reaching our full potential as a nation.”

“The NEA plays a crucial role in helping to provide funds and other resources needed for the sector to recover, retool, and reopen,” Jackson also stated. “The agency also has the opportunity and responsibility to deepen and expand its already purposeful efforts to reach communities who have been traditionally underserved.”

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