Obama Picks New Chair of the NEA

  • February 16, 2014 17:21

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Jane Chu is Obama's choice for chairman of the NEA.
Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts

The White House announced last week that President Obama will nominate Jane Chu as the next chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. Chu is the president and chief executive of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, Mo. She oversaw a $414 million campaign to build the center, which opened in 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 statement. “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.”

Chu was born in Oklahoma to Chinese immigrant parents. A trained pianist, she has focused on arts funding and administration throughout her career.

According to the NEA website, NEA funding has dropped from $167.5 million in 2010, to $138.4 million in 2013. Cuts to arts funding have come from government "sequestration" policies enacted by the House of Representatives to reduce the federal deficit. 

Chu's appointment will have to be approved by the Senate.

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