Maria Rosario Jackson, new chair of the NEA, on the essential role of the arts in American life

Posted on: February 3, 2022

“When teaching a course on arts policy, Maria Rosario Jackson would ask her students to pick an arts event and unpack the decisions and funding sources that created it,” writes Peggy McGlone in Tuesday’s (2/1) Washington Post. “The exercise was intended to expand her students’ thinking about how the arts intersect with all aspects of society and how the arts are a core building block—not a luxury—of American life…. As the 13th chair of the National Endowment for the Arts, Jackson said she will approach this position as she has her previous jobs—including her influential years at the Urban Institute—with the goal of expanding the reach of the arts, strengthening communities and bringing the promise of art to every corner of America…. Jackson earned a doctorate in urban planning from the University of California at Los Angeles and spent 18 years at the Urban Institute in Washington. She founded the institute’s culture, creativity and communities program and conducted research on arts and culture…. [She said,] ‘I’m a connector, a bridge builder. And I also am interested in looking at things from different perspectives and understanding that there isn’t just one way to do things, that there are multiple ways.’ ”