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ASU professor and 1st African American confirmed as National Endowment for the Arts chair

Published: Monday, December 20, 2021 - 4:12pm
Arizona State University
Professor Maria Rosario Jackson is the first African American chair of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Arts enthusiasts in Arizona now have one of their own distinguished advocates in the nation’s top spot as chair of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Maria Rosario Jackson was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Saturday.  

She is a tenured professor in ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts and holds an appointment in the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions.

Jackson was nominated by President Joe Biden in October and will be the first African American to lead the NEA. 

In a media statement, Jackson said in part she’s “excited to build on the arts endowment’s strong work to serve all communities across our nation through the power of the arts.”

Also in October, Shelly Lowe was nominated to be the nation’s first Native American to serve as chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities. 

Lowe grew up on the Navajo Nation and spent six years as the graduate education program facilitator for the American Indian Studies Programs at the University of Arizona. Lowe is the executive director of Harvard University's Native American program.