Jane Chu completed her term as the 11th chair of the National Endowment for the Arts in June 2018. With a background in arts administration and philanthropy, she is also an accomplished artist and musician.
Among several programs that she initiated at the NEA, Chu launched a national Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge for high school students to identify the next generation of songwriters and provide these students with opportunities to be mentored by Broadway artists. The agency received a 2016 Special Tony Award and 2018 Drama League Award for its support of theatre and musical theatre.
During her four-years at the NEA, Chu traveled to all 50 states and to 200 communities to visit visual artists, musicians, dancers, actors, writers, educators, and administrators. She led the agency through three consecutive increases in the endowment budget.
Before coming to the NEA, Chu was president and CEO of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, Mo. She was born in Shawnee, Okla., and raised in Arkadelphia, Ark., the daughter of Chinese immigrants. She has bachelor’s degrees in piano performance and music education from Ouachita Baptist University, as well as a master’s degree in piano pedagogy from Southern Methodist University. Additionally, Chu holds an M.B.A. from Rockhurst University, a Ph.D. in philanthropic studies from Indiana University, and four honorary doctorate degrees.