LOS ANGELES COUNTY’S DR. MARIA ROSARIO JACKSON NOMINATED BY WHITE HOUSE TO CHAIR NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS

Dr. Jackson’s Cultural Leadership Roles Include the Los Angeles County Arts Commission Cultural Equity and Inclusion Initiative’s Advisory Committee


Photo courtesy of Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson.

President Joseph R. Biden nominated Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson as chair of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) this week. Per NEA’s announcement, Dr. Jackson will be the nation’s first African American and Mexican American to be appointed as chair of the organization, an independent federal agency that supports research, education, and development in the arts and humanities.

Born and raised in South Los Angeles, with a Ph.D. in urban planning from UCLA and a master’s of public administration from USC, Dr. Jackson’s storied career brings arts-based strategies to urban and community planning, systems change, and equity advocacy. She has led and advised philanthropy, government, and nonprofit organizations on local, statewide, and federal levels. President Obama appointed Dr. Jackson to the National Council on the Arts in 2013. Closer to home, she serves on boards at the Alliance for California Traditional Arts, LA Commons, and The Music Center, and was an inaugural co-chair of LA County’s Cultural Equity and Inclusion Initiative (CEII) Advisory Committee.

"I am thrilled to see Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson take the helm of the National Endowment for the Arts, and foster an organizational culture that prioritizes equity in arts and culture for all Americans," said Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Hilda L. Solis, Supervisor to the First District. "As a co-chair overseeing the development of Los Angeles County’s Cultural Equity and Inclusion Initiative (CEII), a report with recommendations detailing ways to improve equitable access to the arts, Dr. Jackson was instrumental in supporting inclusion across all sectors of our civic lives. Investing in the arts is investing in our communities. To that end, I am confident that Dr. Jackson will ensure everyone has the right to enjoy the arts and to benefit from them. The NEA will be well-served by her leadership."

During CEII’s 18-month development period, the first advisory committee guided the initiative and shaped its vision to ensure every person in LA County has equitable access to arts and culture, and the goals and recommendations to the County’s Board of Supervisors. This committee was led by three co-chairs: Dr. Jackson; Tim Dang, the former Producing Artist Director at East West Players; and Helen Hernandez, President and Founder of The Imagen Foundation and executive producer of the Imagen Awards. Dr. Jackson remained a co-chair until July of this year, and through her leadership, this CEII Advisory Committee has become a standing committee of the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, the LA County Board of Supervisors’ longstanding advisory body for the arts.

"As one of the original co-chairs of the Cultural Equity and Inclusion Initiative Advisory Committee, Dr. Jackson has helped shaped LA County’s mission to bring increased equity to the arts. She understands the value of the arts, and the ways they can both heal individuals, and build stronger communities. She also knows, and fights for, equity in how arts resources are allocated. Maria believes that equity, inclusion, diversity, and access are of utmost importance and I look forward to seeing how she uplifts this work at the NEA," said Constance Jolcuvar, President of the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.

"Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson is founding member of the Cultural Equity and Inclusion Initiative Advisory Committee. Her unique perspectives and leadership helped to ensure that the LA County Board of Supervisors has funded over $1 million to support the recommendations put forth in CEII. I am proud to see her continue this work on in her new position at the NEA," said Helen Hernandez, CEII Advisory Committee Co-Chair.

"I have been honored to serve alongside Maria Rosario Jackson as a co-chair for CEII which was created to conduct a constructive Countywide conversation about ways to improve diversity in cultural organizations. Art is all about the story. Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson is a masterful storyteller. With her expertise, diplomacy, and cultural competency, her leadership of the National Endowment for the Arts will lift all the communities of America in an inclusive and equitable way with our multitude of stories," said Tim Dang, CEII Advisory Committee Immediate Past Co-Chair.

"I am thrilled that Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson has been nominated to head the National Endowment of Arts. I also honor the road she built in order to arrive there. She has a tireless commitment to equity and a profound sense of arts at the intersection of government, scholarship, community, and philanthropy. We are grateful for her contributions to Los Angeles County and the Cultural Equity and Inclusion Initiative—it is a guiding light for our department," said Kristin Sakoda, Director of the Department of Arts and Culture.

About the Los Angeles County Arts Commission
The Arts Commission, an advisory group to the County Board of Supervisors, consists of up to 15 members, three members appointed by each of the five Supervisors. CEII was developed in response to a Board motion in November 2015 directing the LA County Arts Commission to conduct a constructive Countywide conversation about ways to improve diversity in cultural organizations" for all LA County residents, and focused on five key areas: staff, boards, audience, programming and creators/artists. The Advisory Committee has been a part of Arts and Culture's CEII Work from the beginning. When the LA County Board of Supervisors adopted the Cultural Equity & Inclusion Initiative, they also directed that the CEII Advisory Committee remain as a standing committee the Arts Commission.

About the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture
The mission of the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture is to advance arts, culture, and creativity throughout LA County. The department provides leadership, services, and support in areas including grants and technical assistance for nonprofit organizations; professional development opportunities; public art commissions and the supervision of the County's civic art collection; countywide arts education initiatives; research and evaluation of the arts sector; the formation of career pathways in the creative economy; free community programs; and cross-sector creative strategies that address civic issues. This work is framed by the County's Cultural Equity and Inclusion Initiative and a longstanding commitment to fostering access to the arts. For more information, please visit the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture.

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