WASHINGTON – Today, President Joe Biden announced his intent to nominate Shelly Lowe as Chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson as Chair of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Both are esteemed leaders in their respective fields and dedicated public servants committed to advancing the development of and access to the arts and humanities across America.

If confirmed, Shelly Lowe will be the nation’s first Native American to serve as Chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities and Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson will be the first African American and Mexican American to serve as Chair of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Both established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities are independent federal agencies that support research, education, and development across the arts and humanities through partnerships with state and local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector. They work to affirm and celebrate America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage and promote equal access to art and humanities resources and programs in communities across the nation.

Shelly Lowe, Nominee for Chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities
Shelly C. Lowe is a citizen of the Navajo Nation and grew up on the Navajo Reservation in Ganado, Arizona. Ms. Lowe is currently a member of the National Council on the Humanities, an appointment she received from President Obama. Her career in higher education has included administrative roles such as Executive Director of the Harvard University Native American Program, Assistant Dean in the Yale College Deans Office, and Director of the Native American Cultural Center at Yale University. Prior to these positions, she spent six years as the Graduate Education Program Facilitator for the American Indian Studies Programs at The University of Arizona.  

Ms. Lowe has served in a variety of leadership roles nationally, most recently as a member of the University of Arizona Alumni Association Governing Board and as a member of the Challenge Leadership Group for the MIT Solve Indigenous Communities Fellowship. She has served on the board of the National Indian Education Association and as a Board of Trustee for the National Museum of the American Indian. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, a Master of Arts in American Indian Studies, and has completed doctoral coursework in Higher Education from the University of Arizona. 

Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson, Nominee for Chair of the National Endowment for the Arts
Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson has had a long career in strategic planning, policy research and evaluation with philanthropy, government and nonprofit organizations. Her work appears in a wide range of professional and academic publications and she has been a speaker at scores of national and international conferences. She has served as an advisor on philanthropic programs and investments at national, regional and local foundations. Dr. Jackson is a tenured Institute Professor in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts (HIDA) at Arizona State University where she also holds an appointment in the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions.

In 2013, President Obama appointed Dr. Jackson to the National Council on the Arts. Dr. Jackson was co-chair of the County of Los Angeles Cultural Equity and Inclusion Initiative and continues to serve as an advisory board member. She is currently on the advisory boards of the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, the Equity Center at the University of Virginia, the Strong, Prosperous and Resilient Communities Challenge (SPARCC) and L.A. Commons, an arts intermediary organization focused on bridging communities through stories and creative practice. She serves on the board of directors of the Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County (The Music Center), the Association of Arts Administration Educators and the Alliance for California Traditional Arts. For 18 years, Dr. Jackson was at the Urban Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based national public policy research organization, and founding director of UI’s Culture, Creativity and Communities Program. Dr. Jackson earned a PhD in urban planning from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Southern California.


Stay Connected

We'll be in touch with the latest information on how President Biden and his administration are working for the American people, as well as ways you can get involved and help our country build back better.

Scroll to Top