President Obama Taps Jane Chu to Lead NEA

Jane Chu.

U.S. President Barack Obama has nominated Jane Chu, current president and CEO of the Kauffman Center for Performing Arts in Kansas City, to be the next chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the Kansas City Star reports. Chu has been at the Kauffman’s helm since 2006, overseeing its construction and the $414-million fundraising campaign leading up to its opening in September of 2011.

“Jane’s lifelong passion for the arts and her background in philanthropy have made her a powerful advocate for artists and arts education in Kansas City,” Obama said in a release announcing Chu’s nomination. “She knows firsthand how art can open minds, transform lives and revitalize communities, and believes deeply in the importance of the arts to our national culture.”

In 2009, Obama picked Broadway producer Rocco Landesman to lead the NEA. He retired at the end of 2012, and his executive deputy director,  Joan Shigekawa, has been serving as chairman ever since.

—Benjamin Sutton

(Photo courtesy the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.)

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