Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson Nominated to be Chair of the National Endowment for the Arts  

A smiling woman with dark hair and dark brown eyes

Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson. Photo credit: David K. Riddick

President Joseph R. Biden today nominated Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD, of Los Angeles, California, as chair of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The Biden-Harris Administration chose to make the announcement during National Arts and Humanities Month with the selection of Dr. Jackson to lead the nation’s arts agency. She will be the nation’s first African American and Mexican American to be appointed as NEA chair.

“It is an honor to be nominated to serve as head of the National Endowment for the Arts by President Biden, who has a demonstrated deep commitment to the arts,” said Dr. Jackson. “Our art, culture, and creativity are some of our country’s most valuable resources. They are evidence of our humanity, our ability to learn from our examined experience, and our ability to imagine and innovate. The arts are critical to our well-being, to robust economies, and to healthy communities where all people can thrive. 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.”

Dr. Jackson has served on the National Council on the Arts since 2013 when she was appointed by President Obama. She is a tenured Institute Professor in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts (HIDA) at Arizona State University, where she also holds an appointment in the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions. A graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) with a doctorate in urban planning, Dr. Jackson also holds a master of public administration degree from the University of Southern California. Dr. Jackson grew up in South Los Angeles and, as a child, spent summers in her mother’s hometown of Mexico City and visited her father’s home state of Ohio. For high school, she attended St. Mary’s Academy in Inglewood, California. She lived in Washington, DC for the better part of 20 years and currently resides in her native Los Angeles with her husband, David K. Riddick, and in Phoenix, Arizona. She has served on numerous arts and community development-related boards and is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Biography

For more than 25 years, Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson’s work has focused on understanding and elevating arts, culture, and design as critical elements of healthy communities. Her work blends social science, arts, and humanities-based approaches to comprehensive community development, systems change, program and policy evaluation, and applied research. Dr. Jackson has a long career in strategic planning, policy research, and evaluation with philanthropy, government, and nonprofit organizations. Her work appears in a wide range of professional and academic publications, and she has been a speaker at scores of national and international conferences. She has served as an advisor on philanthropic programs and investments at national, regional, and local foundations. Dr. Jackson is a tenured Institute Professor in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts (HIDA) at Arizona State University, where she also holds an appointment in the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions.

In 2013, President Obama appointed Dr. Jackson to the National Council on the Arts. Dr. Jackson was co-chair of the County of Los Angeles Cultural Equity and Inclusion Initiative and continues to serve as an advisory board member. She is currently on the advisory boards of the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage; the Equity Center at the University of Virginia; the Strong, Prosperous and Resilient Communities Challenge (SPARCC); and L.A. Commons, an arts intermediary organization focused on bridging communities through stories and creative practice. She serves on the board of directors of the Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County (The Music Center), the Association of Arts Administration Educators, and the Alliance for California Traditional Arts. For 18 years, Dr. Jackson was at the Urban Institute, a Washington, DC-based national public policy research organization, and founding director of UI’s Culture, Creativity and Communities Program.  Dr. Jackson earned a PhD in urban planning from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and a master of public administration degree from the University of Southern California.

About the National Endowment for the Arts

Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the Arts Endowment supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. Visit arts.gov to learn more.

Contact

Allison Hill
hilla@arts.gov
202-682-5037