Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson, NEA Chair

Warm greetings and best wishes of the season from the National Endowment for the Arts!

As we reflect on the past year, I want to offer thanks to all of you for the work you do to ensure that all Americans have opportunities to live artful lives.

This concept of artful lives is one I have been advancing during my time as chair of the NEA. It encompasses both the creation and consumption of professional art, as well as the ways that arts and culture are a part of our everyday lived experiences of making, doing, teaching, and learning. I recently spoke more on this concept and the principles it is based on, and I invite you to watch this short video and consider the immense value arts and culture have in our lives and our communities.

As we begin a new year, I look forward to further advancing these ideas through the work of the NEA. Last fall at the start of National Arts & Humanities Month, President Biden announced Executive Order #14084 that includes a whole-of-government approach for advancing the arts, the humanities, and museum and library services. This order noted how essential arts and humanities are to the “well-being, health, vitality, and democracy of our Nation,” and encourages their integration into policies, programs, and partnerships throughout the federal government.

One of my core beliefs is that the arts don’t exist in a bubble. There is immense opportunity in understanding the arts comprehensively and holistically, recognizing their intrinsic value and understanding how arts and culture can strengthen other fields—health, community development, education, transportation, among others.

We are leaning into this opportunity and sharing the multiple ways the NEA serves as a national resource. This includes the critical grant funding we provide, in addition to our roles as thought-leader and convener of the arts sector and other players on critical subjects, connector of artists and arts organizations with new opportunities, and amplifier of the important work you are doing. This includes addressing the impact of the pandemic which continues to be felt by artists and arts organizations nationwide as lost jobs, smaller audiences, and increased demand for alternative forms of engagement. Throughout our work, we are continuing our commitment to ensuring there is equitable access to the arts in this country and I plan more announcements about this work in 2023.

As I look back, I see evidence of strength, resilience, and possibility. I see you responding, adapting, and finding creative and intentional ways of working. As I look forward I am inspired by you and excited by the work we can do together.

Wishing you a happy and artful 2023!