WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced his picks to head the National Endowments for the Humanities and the Arts, tapping a Harvard University scholar and an Arizona State University professor to oversee the federal agencies.
If confirmed by the Senate, Shelly Lowe, who is the executive director of Harvard University’s Native American program, will be the nation’s first Native American to serve as chairperson of the National Endowment for the Humanities. She is a citizen of the Navajo Nation and grew up on the Navajo Reservation in Ganado, Arizona.
Maria Rosario Jackson, if confirmed, will be the first African American and Mexican American to serve as chairperson for the National Endowment for the Arts. Jackson is a professor at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State, where she also holds an appointment in the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions.
She’s served as co-chair of the County of Los Angeles Cultural Equity and Inclusion Initiative, and is currently on the advisory boards of the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, the Equity Center at the University of Virginia, and several arts organizations in Los Angeles.
The humanities and arts endowments were established by Congress in 1965 and are independent federal agencies that support research, education and development in the arts and humanities through partnerships with state and local leaders, other federal agencies and the philanthropic sector.
Lowe is a member of the National Council on the Humanities, an appointment she received from President Barack Obama. Jackson was appointed by Obama in 2013 to the the National Council on the Arts, which advises the NEA chairman.