President Biden announces his intention to appoint presidents of national endowments for the humanities and the arts


WASHINGTON – Today, President Joe Biden announced his intention to appoint Shelly Lowe President of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and Dr Maria Rosario Jackson President of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Both are esteemed leaders in their respective fields and dedicated public servants committed to advancing the development of and access to the arts and humanities across America.

If confirmed, Shelly Lowe will be the first Native American in the country to chair the National Endowment for the Humanities and Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson will be the first African American and Mexican to chair the National Endowment for the Arts.

Both established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities are independent federal agencies that support research, education, and development in the arts and humanities through partnerships with state and local leaders, other federal agencies and the philanthropic sector. They work to affirm and celebrate America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage and promote equal access to arts and humanities resources and programs in communities across the country.

Shelly Lowe, National Endowment for the Humanities presidential candidate
Shelly C. Lowe is a citizen of the Navajo Nation and grew up on the Navajo Reservation in Ganado, Arizona. Ms. Lowe is currently a member of the National Humanities Council, an appointment she received from President Obama. Her career in higher education has included administrative roles such as Executive Director of the Native American Program at Harvard University, Assistant Dean of the Office of Deans at Yale College, and Director of the Native American Cultural Center at Yale University. Prior to these positions, she spent six years as a graduate program facilitator for Native American Studies programs at the University of Arizona.

Ms. Lowe has held various leadership positions nationwide, most recently as a board member of the University of Arizona Alumni Association and as a member of the Challenge Leadership Group for the MIT Solve Indigenous Communities scholarship. She has served on the Board of Trustees of the National Indian Education Association and as the Board of Trustees of the National Museum of the American Indian. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, a Master of Arts in Native American Studies, and has completed doctoral courses in higher education from the University of Arizona.

Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson, presidential candidate of the National Endowment for the Arts
Dr Maria Rosario Jackson has had a long career in strategic planning, research and policy 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 numerous national and international conferences. She has been an advisor on philanthropic programs and investments in national, regional and local foundations. Dr Jackson is a Full Professor at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts (HIDA) at Arizona State University, where she also holds a position at Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions.

In 2013, President Obama appointed Dr. Jackson to the National Arts Council. Dr. Jackson served as co-chair of the Los Angeles County Cultural Equity and Inclusion Initiative and continues to serve on the advisory board. She currently serves 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 LA Commons, an arts intermediary organization focused on bringing together communities through stories and creative practices. She sits on the board of directors of the Los Angeles County Performing Arts Center (The Music Center), the Association of Arts Administration Educators, and the Alliance for California Traditional Arts. For 18 years, Dr. Jackson worked at the Urban Institute, a national public policy research organization based in Washington, DC, and founding director of the Culture, Creativity, and Communities program at IU. Dr Jackson holds a doctorate in urban planning from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Southern California.



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