Jane Chu is the eleventh chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. With a background in arts administration and philanthropy, Chairman Chu is also an accomplished artist and musician. She leads a dedicated and passionate group of people to support and fund the arts and creative activities in communities across the nation.
Chu was born in Shawnee, Oklahoma, and raised in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, the daughter of Chinese immigrants. She studied music growing up, eventually receiving bachelor's degrees in piano performance and music education from Ouachita Baptist University, and master's degrees in music and piano pedagogy from Southern Methodist University. Additionally, Chu holds a master's degree in business administration from Rockhurst University and a PhD in philanthropic studies from Indiana University.
In addition to awarding more than $240 million in grants during her tenure to-date, Chu has issued new research reports on arts participation and the impact of the arts and cultural industries on the nation's gross domestic product; has made hundreds of trips to communities across the nation to see first-hand how the arts are impacting people and places; and launched the Tell Us Your Story project that demonstrates the importance of the arts in our lives.
As part of the NEA’s 50th Anniversary, Chairman Chu launched her signature leadership initiative, Creativity Connects, to investigate the current state of the arts in our nation, and explore how the arts connect with other industries. The initiative includes, a pilot grant program that awards grants to arts organizations for projects involving partnerships with non-arts organizations; a “bright spots” interactive, digital graphic that shows the mashup of arts with other non-arts sectors; and the report, Creativity Connects: Trends and Conditions Affecting US Artists, about the current infrastructure of the arts and working conditions for artists.
"We have an opportunity to start a new dialogue on the ways in which the arts—and the ways the NEA supports the arts—are an essential component of our everyday lives," says Chu. "Although many may not realize it, the arts actively intersect with areas such as the economy, human development, and community vitality. The arts and artists who are funded and supported by the NEA are an integral part of the solution to the challenges we face in all parts of our society."
Chu has a deep understanding of and commitment to the arts. From 2006 to 2014, Chu served as the president and CEO of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, Missouri, overseeing a $413-million campaign to build the center. She was a fund executive at the Kauffman Fund for Kansas City from 2004 to 2006, and vice president of external relations for Union Station Kansas City from 2002 to 2004. Previously, she was vice president of community investment for the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation from 1997 to 2002.
SPEECHES, BLOGS POSTS, PODCASTS, ARTICLES, PANELS
The Beauty in the Ordinary (9/24/15)
Catching Up with #NEAJaneChu (8/28/14)
Swearing-in remarks (7/23/14)
Welcome video (6/20/14)