This week, the Senate confirmed Dr. Jane Chu as chairwoman of the National Endowment for the Arts. Chu is currently the president and CEO of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, Missouri.
Kauffman Center's Jane Chu is confirmed as NEA chairwoman
A veteran arts administrator, Dr. Chu was nominated by President Obama for the NEA post in February. She fills a post that has been vacant for over year. Senior Deputy Chairman Joan Shigekawa had been acting chairman since Rocco Landesman stepped down in December 2012.
The NEA is the largest annual national supporter of the nonprofit arts in the United States. As chairwoman, Dr. Chu will oversee the federal funding of cultural organizations and programs that increase access to the arts.
Chu, who is regarded as a skilled fundraiser, will need "number one to be a national spokesperson about the value of the arts and the value of investment in the arts," said Robert Lynch, president and CEO of the advocacy organization Americans for the Arts. Part of the NEA's leverage involves being in dialogue with multiple sources of money, he said. "What I see is she has a deep knowledge of philanthropy in general. She is knowledgeable about multiple art forms, both performing and visual and that's important," and she has a strong business background.
And while he would have liked to have seen the position filled sooner, "what we have every day is opportunity," Lynch said. "I do think a lot can be accomplished in the next two years, and I'm looking forward to that."
In Kansas City, Chu oversaw a $413 million campaign to build the Kauffman Center - home of the Kansas City Ballet, Kansas City Symphony and Lyric Opera of Kansas City - which opened in 2011. Prior to that, Chu, the daughter of Chinese immigrants who was raised in Arkansas, had been an executive at the Kauffman Fund for Kansas City and vice president of external relations for Union Station Kansas City. She has advanced degrees in music, business administration and philanthropic studies.
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