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Article Published: 21 Dec 2021

Arts Advocacy Update: NEA Chair Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson

U.S. Senate Confirms Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson as 13th National Endowment for the Arts Chair; American Rescue Plan Grants Scheduled to Be Announced in Early-January

The U.S. Senate voted on December 18 to confirm Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson as the 13th chair of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) for a term of four years.

In her statement following her U.S. Senate confirmation, Dr. Jackson indicated, “I will lead the NEA with dedication to inclusivity, collaboration, and with the recognition that art, culture, and creativity are core to us reaching our full potential as a nation.” Here is the NEA’s press release on Dr. Jackson’s confirmation.

Ann Eilers, the acting chair prior to Dr. Jackson’s U.S. Senate confirmation, will resume her role as deputy chairman for management and budget.

OPERA America looks forward to working with Dr. Jackson and her staff to sustain existing support to the opera community and the overall arts and cultural sector during the current pandemic and to provide increased support for the creative economy and creative workers as the nation moves beyond the current pandemic.

"Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson has been a leader at the intersection of art and community for decades," stated OPERA America President/CEO Marc A. Scorca. "As a thought leader, consultant, and teacher, she has elevated discussion about the civic responsibility of arts organizations to strengthen their communities. She has served as a dynamic member of the National Council on the Arts where she helped shape new strategies for the NEA and its grantees. As the agency’s chair, she will be in a position to advance this important work and articulate the value of the arts to the health of our nation at the highest levels of government.”

OPERA America encourages its members and interested stakeholders to provide congratulations and welcome to Dr. Jackson on their social media platforms using the hashtag #NEAChairMRJ.

The U.S. Senate voted on additional confirmations to the National Council for the Arts, which advises the NEA chair on various federal agency policies and programs. Dr. Jackson, in her role, also chairs the National Council for the Arts. The Council reviews and makes recommendations to the chair on applications for grants, funding guidelines, and leadership initiatives. Dr. Jackson is also a former member of the Council. The additional U.S. Senate confirmations are Huascar Medina of Kansas and Ismael N. Ahmed of Michigan.

The National Council for the Arts met earlier in December, and decisions concerning American Rescue Plan grants for arts-related organizations are scheduled to be announced in early January.

Shelly C. Lowe, chair nominee for the National Endowment for the Humanities, is included on the pending U.S. Senate floor calendar for a confirmation vote. Ms. Lowe is also a current member of the National Council on the Humanities.