Headshot of Maria Rosario Jackson.

Maria Rosario Jackson, new chair of the NEA. Photo by David K. Riddick.

On December 18, 2021, the U.S. Senate confirmed Maria Rosario Jackson as the 13th chair of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Jackson is the first NEA chair to be an African American and Mexican American woman. She is a professor in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University, where she also holds an appointment in the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions. Jackson holds a doctorate in urban planning from the University of California, Los Angeles and a master of public administration degree from the University of Southern California. Her work appears in professional and academic publications, and she has been an advisor to numerous foundations. “The work of the NEA and the need for arts and creativity are more important now than ever,” Jackson stated. “In addition to serving as an economic engine, arts and creativity are core to what it takes to heal our nation, our communities, and ourselves.” In February, the Senate also confirmed Shelly C. Lowe lead the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), making Lowe the first Native American to lead the NEH.