Obama Nominates Kansas City Arts Leader for NEA Post

Barack Obama Hollywood Studio Chiefs
T.J. Kirkpatrick-Pool/Getty Images

Jane Chu, president and CEO of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, has been nominated by President Obama to serve as the next chair of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Chu would succeed Rocco Landesman, the Broadway producer who stepped down more than a year ago after serving in the post for much of Obama’s first term. Joan Shigekawa, senior deputy chair, has led the endowment in the interim.

With a $146 million budget, the endowment awards grants to local arts organizations, documentary and independent filmmakers and non-profit theater groups.

“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 has led the Kauffman Center since 2006. She was an executive at the Kauffman Fund for Kansas City from 2004 to 2006, and VP of external relations for Union Station Kansas City from 2002 to 2004. She also has degrees in visual arts, piano performance and music education.

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