National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu said in a statement that she will resign June 4, after four years at the head of the federal arts agency.
The Trump administration has twice targeted the NEA for elimination, but Chu made no reference to this turbulence in her statement, saying only that it has been an “honor and privilege” to serve as the agency’s chairwoman. The NEA awards millions of dollars in competitive grants to hundreds of arts groups annually.
“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 50 states, U.S. territories, and in every Congressional District,” Chu said.
Since becoming the 11th head of the NEA in 2014, Chu has visited arts organizations in all 50 states to experience firsthand the art, education and community-building they provide. A musician with degrees in piano, business and philanthropy, Chu was chief executive of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, Mo., before being tapped by President Barack Obama to become the nation’s arts leader.
Although targeted by Trump for elimination, the NEA enjoys bipartisan support from Congress, which passed a spending bill — that Trump signed last month — increasing its annual funding to $152 million.
Chu has been tireless in showcasing the broad influence of the arts.
“In my travels to 200 communities in all 50 states — making more than 400 site visits — I have talked with visual artists, musicians, dancers, actors, and writers who are powerfully creating America’s culture,” she said. “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.”