WASHINGTON – Today President Joe Biden announced his intention to appoint Shelly Lowe as Chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and Dr. To appoint Maria Rosario Jackson as Chair of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Both are respected leaders in their respective fields and dedicated officials who are committed to promoting development and access to the arts and humanities across America.
If confirmed, Shelly Lowe will become the nation’s first Native American to serve as chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson will become the first African American and Mexican American to serve as Chair of the National Endowment for the Arts.
Founded by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities are independent federal agencies that conduct 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 to promote equal access to arts and intellectual resources and programs in communities across the country.
Shelly Lowe, nominee to chair the National Endowment for the Humanities
Shelly C. Lowe is a Navajo Nation citizen and grew up on the Navajo reservation in Ganado, Arizona. Ms. Lowe is currently a member of the National Council on the Humanities, 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 in the Deans Office at Yale College, and Director of the Native American Cultural Center at Yale University. Prior to these positions, she spent six years moderating the Graduate Education Program for the American Indian Studies Programs at the University of Arizona.
Ms. Lowe has held various leadership positions at the national level, most recently as a member of the Board of Directors of the University of Arizona Alumni Association and as a member of the Challenge Leadership Group for the MIT Solve Indigenous Communities Fellowship. She served on the board of directors of the National Indian Education Association and served on 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 American Indian Studies, and a PhD in higher education from the University of Arizona.
Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson, nominee for Chair of the National Endowment for the Arts
Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson has a long career in strategic planning, policy research, and evaluation with philanthropy, government, and nonprofits. Her work appears in a large number of specialist and scientific publications and she has been a speaker at numerous national and international conferences. She has been a consultant for philanthropic programs and investments with national, regional and local foundations. Dr. Jackson is a permanent professor at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts (HIDA) at Arizona State University, where she also holds an appointment at the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions.
In 2013, President Obama appointed Dr. Jackson to the National Council on the Arts. Dr. Jackson was co-chair of the County of Los Angeles’ Cultural Equity and Inclusion Initiative and continues to serve on its 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 education organization focused on community bridging Stories and Creative Practice. She is a board member of the Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County (The Music Center), the Association of Arts Administration Educators, and the Alliance for California Traditional Arts. For 18 years, Dr. Jackson at the Urban Institute, a national public policy research organization in Washington, DC, and founding director of UI’s Culture, Creativity and Community Programs. Dr. Jackson holds a PhD in Urban Planning from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and a Masters of Public Administration from the University of Southern California.