Jen Hughes

Acting Design and Creative Placemaking Director, Community Solutions Specialist

Jen Hughes currently serves as the acting director of Design and Creative Placemaking for the National Endowment for the Arts. Hughes provides oversight on grants for design and creative placemaking projects, and oversees key leadership initiatives that include the Mayors’ Institute on City Design and the Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design.

In her dual role as community solutions specialist, she manages federal, philanthropic, and local relationships to strategically integrate arts and cultural strategies that ultimately drive community and economic revitalization across the nation. Hughes has over six years of experience in the NEA Design and Creative Placemaking program and has held previous NEA positions managing the Our Town and Design Art Works grant programs. She has served on more than 40 public panels on the topic of design and creative placemaking, and was invited to represent the United States at the Edinburgh Festivals International Delegate Programme.

Previously, she worked as an urban planner for the District of Columbia and has held communications and business consulting positions in the private sector. Hughes was recognized by Impact Design Hub’s 40 under 40, honoring innovative leaders working at the intersection of design and public good. A Philadelphia native, she has a bachelors in management from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a masters in city planning from University of California, Berkeley with a focus on community development and design.