President Nominates Chairs of National Endowment for the Arts and the Humanities

October 8, 2021

CONTACT: Johanna Tschebull

Washington, DC – This week, President Biden nominated Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD as Chair of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and Shelly Lowe as Chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). If confirmed, Dr. Jackson will be the first African American and Mexican American to serve as Chair of the NEA and Lowe will be the nation’s first Native American to serve as Chair of the NEH. Learn more about the nominees here.

“We are thrilled by the nominations of Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson and Shelly Lowe to be the next permanent Chairs of the NEA and NEH. This is an exciting moment for the arts and cultural sector; the nominees represent populations that have been historically excluded from spaces of power, influence, and leadership. We welcome the opportunity to work with these acclaimed leaders,” said Dance/USA Executive Director Kellee Edusei.

“We appreciate the leadership of Ann Eilers and Adam Wolfson as Acting Chairs of the NEA and NEH, respectfully, during the current presidential administration. However, it is important that these federal agencies have permanent leadership in place to advance their agencies’ missions and program objectives for the benefit of the arts and cultural sector. We look forward to our continued working relationship with them as they transition back to their prior roles within their agencies,” said Dance/USA Director of Government Affairs Tony Shivers.

TAKE ACTION! Urge Congress to Support Increased NEA and NEH Funding
Dance/USA encourages its members and interested stakeholders to communicate with their federal elected officials to support $201 million in funding for the NEA and NEH by using this action alert.

The NEA and NEH are just two of the federal arts and cultural-related agencies that are critical components in the network of public, private, corporate, and philanthropic support for the professional dance community and overall arts and cultural sector. NEA-supported programs are anticipated to reach more than 42 million adults and 8.3 million children per year attending live arts events. The NEA is the only arts funder in America, public or private, that supports the arts in 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories. Every congressional district benefits from an NEA grant. An NEA grant additionally helps leverage additional forms of support – a dollar invested by the NEA is matched by more than $9 from other state, local, and private sources, magnifying the impact of the federal investment.

Congressional support for the NEA and NEH has strengthened in recent years, evidenced by incremental funding increases and emergency pandemic relief funding under the American Rescue Plan enacted in March. Unfortunately, the NEA has never recovered from a 40 percent budget cut in FY96, and its programs are seriously under-funded.

The Biden-Harris Administration has proposed and the U.S. House of Representatives has passed legislation funding the NEA and NEH at $201 million each. This historic level of funding will help fully restore funding for these agencies and increase the capacity of the professional dance community to support arts education for children and adults, expand public access to various dance performances, preserve great works, and nurture the creative endeavors of various dance artists across the nation.

Contact Congress Here!

About Dance/USA
Propelled by our belief that dance can inspire a more just and humane world, Dance/USA will amplify the power of dance to inform and inspire a nation where creativity and the field thrive.

Established in 1982, Dance/USA champions an inclusive and equitable dance field by leading, convening, advocating, and supporting individuals and organizations. Dance/USA’s core programs are focused in the areas of engagement, advocacy, research, and preservation. Learn more about Dance/USA at

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