President Biden names minority heads for arts and humanities

President Biden names minority heads for arts and humanities


norman lebrecht

October 07, 2021

The President has nominated Maria Rosario Jackson to chair the National Endowment for the Arts.

Dr Jackson, who teaches at the University of Arizona, wrote recently: ‘As the daughter of an African American man and a Mexican immigrant woman, I watched my parents resort to the arts and to the particular expressions of their respective cultures because they feared that without intentional exposure to Black and Brown people who could express their fullest humanity, my brother and I might actually believe the narratives that they were sure we were confronting daily.’


Mr Biden has also named Shelly Lowe, head of the Harvard University Native American Program, to chair the Humanities panel.

NEA distributes up yo $180 million in arts funding.


  • Frank Flambeau says:

    I cannot see the Donald doing this.

  • drummerman says:

    Does anyone know if Dr. Jackson has worked for a nonprofit performing arts organization? I know that her academic credentials are impressive.

    • Monsoon says:

      Not sure why you’re focusing on just that when the NEA funds a lot more than the performing arts, such as: Artist communities, arts education, design, literary arts, media arts, museums, etc.

      Dr. Jackson has already been a member of the National Council on the Arts which oversees the NEA, so it’s not like she’s going to be new to the work of supervising the NEA.

      • drummerman says:

        Thank you. It was a slip caused by me being a two-finger typist. I am quite familiar with what the NEA does and have also written quite a few (successful) grant proposals to them.

        “Overseeing” the NEA is not the same as running an arts organization. There have been several NEA chairs recently – in both Democratic and Republican administrations – where the NEA chair had no experience “in the trenches,” so to speak. That’s why I was asking about Dr. Jackson.

        • Monsoon says:

          I don’t see why that matters. The NEA is a grant making organization. There’s a whole team of staff who work on evaluating the grants — that’s where you want the “in the trenches” experience.

          The Chairman charts the strategic direction of the whole organization, is its chief spokesperson, and be the person who takes ultimate responsibility for the budget and work.

          A more pertinent question is what experience does Dr. Jackson have with foundations and grant making.

  • Tiredofitall says:

    Shouldn’t we be beyond categorizing or prioritizing by sex or race or origin? This person seems qualified. Enough said. Her job is to advocate for all, not just for any specific group.

  • MacroV says:

    I know you need “minority” in the headline as click-bait, but what’s so unusual? Half-Black, half-Mexican? That’s what we call 100% American.

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    Identity politics. Absolute Yaaaaaaaawn. What else can you expect when your President has capitulated to the hard Left in the “Potemkin Presidency”!!

  • Will says:

    Her statement makes no sense, but she’ll be celebrated no matter what.