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NEA Chair Talks The Future Of The Organization


Many Republicans are keen to shrink the federal government. And now that the party controls both the White House and Congress, some are wondering which federal agencies might be affected. On Think, Krys Boyd talked with Jane Chu, chair of the National Endowment for the Arts, about how the organization expects to fare.

The KERA Interview

Jane Chu on …

… the future of the NEA:

“The NEA chairs serve a term, and [the NEA was] established as an independent federal agency, so they are actually not tied to any political agendas. And doesn’t that make sense? The arts are non-partisan ... because we know the transformational power of it. I do serve a term and was honored to be appointed by the president. We don’t speculate beyond that. We are just continuing to do our job, put our heads down and make sure to try and make arts available across America.”  

… working with Congress:

“We’ve actually been honored and appreciated of our work with Congress. Very appreciative that Congress, both the House and the Senate, gave the National Endowment for the Arts an increase in the budget. Last year there was also a proposed one for the following year. We meet with Congress very actively to say, ‘Did you know we’re doing this? I just wanted to keep you updated.’ We actively keep everybody updated on what we’re doing.”   

… why funding the arts is important:

“When my father died, at age 9 I was taking piano lessons and really realized at that time having grown up with parents who spoke Chinese at home and I spoke English at school that music, for me, was the starting point for my realizing there was another form of expression. I’m not sure at the age of 9 I could have articulated my own profound loss of my father in linear everyday words, but there was something in music that soothed me … I’ve seen firsthand the ability for the arts to reach us in so many ways that transcends the use of everyday languages, no matter what language you’re speaking."