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National Endowment for the Arts Chair Jane Chu to Step Down in June

Jane Chu, the eleventh chair of the National Endowment for the Arts, announced that she will step down after four years at the helm of the federal agency. Chu, a musician with degrees in piano, business, and philanthropy, was the chief executive of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, Missouri, before former president Barack Obama nominated her for the position at the NEA.

“I am so appreciative of having had this opportunity,” Chu said in a statement. “The National Endowment for the Arts is doing effective and meaningful work to help the arts thrive and connect to individuals and in communities large and small, densely populated, rural, and remote in all fifty states, US territories, and in every Congressional District.”

During her tenure, Chu visited more than 400 sites in all fifty states. She said: “I have talked with visual artists, musicians, dancers, actors, and writers who are powerfully creating America’s culture. Children from all walks of life are expanding their skills artistically and academically through the arts. And arts organizations are not only providing programs for audiences, they are also seen as leaders in their communities because the arts can bring people together. I am personally inspired and impressed by them.”

Despite Trump’s attempts to defund the NEA and the National Endowment for the Humanities, Chu has not spoken publicly about his administration’s campaign against federal funding for the arts. In March, the US Bureau of Economic Analysis and the NEA released a report that found that the arts contribute $763.6 billion to the US economy, which is more than the agriculture, transportation, or warehousing industries. Chu declared its findings were “hard evidence” of how and where arts and culture contribute value to the economies of communities throughout the nation.