Ben Stone Joins National Endowment for the Arts as Director of Design and Creative Placemaking

Ben Stone

Photo by Colin Murphy

Photo by Colin Murphy

Washington, DC—The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is pleased to announce Ben Stone as the new director of Design and Creative Placemaking. He started this position on July 17, 2023. In this position, Stone will manage the NEA’s design and creative placemaking portfolio, including NEA initiatives the Mayors’ Institute on City Design, the Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design, and the Creative Placemaking Technical Assistance Program.

Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD, chair of the NEA said, “We are excited to welcome Ben to the NEA. He brings extensive experience working in design and creative placemaking as well as a deep understanding of the value artists can bring to other sectors. We look forward to working with him to further the NEA’s role as a national resource striving to ensure that all people in our country can live artful lives and thrive.”

Stone most recently served as a senior advisor at the Bloomberg Center for Public Innovation at Johns Hopkins University, where he helped cities access federal bipartisan infrastructure funding via the Local Infrastructure Hub, a national technical assistance program for municipal governments seeking these resources. Previously, Stone served as Smart Growth America’s inaugural director of Arts & Culture, leading the advocacy organization’s efforts to integrate the arts into neighborhood revitalization, equitable community development, and transportation planning and design. At SGA, he worked closely with advocates and local, state, regional, and federal leaders to launch the nation’s first artist residencies at state agencies, produce international conferences, and provide funding and technical assistance to communities in more than three dozen states. Prior to SGA, Stone served as executive director for Station North Arts and Entertainment Inc., where he transformed central Baltimore’s arts district into a national model for arts-based revitalization, civic engagement, and creative placemaking.

Stone earned a master’s degree in city planning from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a BA in American studies from Tufts University, and a BFA in studio art from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

Stone replaces Jen Hughes, who moved into the position of senior advisor to the chair on partnerships, expansion, and innovation at the National Endowment for the Arts in 2022.

About the National Endowment for the Arts

Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is an independent federal agency that is the largest funder of the arts and arts education in communities nationwide and a catalyst of public and private support for the arts. By advancing equitable opportunities for arts participation and practice, the NEA fosters and sustains an environment in which the arts benefit everyone in the United States. Visit to learn more.


Liz Auclair,, 202-682-5744