Ayanna N. Hudson

Arts Education Director
Literary Arts & Arts Education Division
Ayanna Hudson

Photo by Gregory Gilmer



Ayanna N. Hudson is the director of Arts Education for the National Endowment for the Arts, where she presides over the grant portfolio devoted to arts education, works with national service organizations on policy initiatives, and serves as the spokesperson for arts education at the federal level.

The NEA's arts education program provides direct learning grants for projects that provide pre-K through 12th-grade students with opportunities to gain knowledge and skills in the arts both in and outside the classroom; professional development grants for projects that deepen knowledge and strengthen practice of educators and civic leaders; and collective impact grants for projects that use a systematic approach to provide arts education to students throughout a community, school, school district, and state.

Hudson was the director of arts education with the Los Angeles County Arts Commission for more than ten years. She developed and led the implementation of the Arts for All collaborative, ensuring equitable access to arts education for 1.6 million students in the county's 81 school districts, the largest educational system in the country. Arts for All was cited in 2008 by the RAND Corporation as among the top three collaborations nationwide in its study Revitalizing Arts Education through Community-wide Coordination. In 2011, Arts for All received the Arts Education Award from the national service organization Americans for the Arts.

Hudson is a sought-after expert in arts education having testified before the U.S. House of Representative's Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Subcommittee and the Aspen Institute's Blue Ribbon Committee on the impact of No Child Left Behind.

Prior to her work in Los Angeles, Hudson managed the School Arts Program at the Fulton County Department of Arts and Culture in Atlanta, Georgia. She has a BA in psychology from Spelman College and a specialized master's degree in education in risk and prevention from Harvard University.