President Obama will nominate Jane Chu, president and chief executive of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, Mo., as the next chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts.
Chu has led the Kauffman Center since 2006, when it was still being planned. She oversaw a $414 million campaign to build the center, which opened in September, 2011.
Chu, who has spent most of her life in the Midwest and Texas, has had a much lower national profile than most nominees for the NEA chairmanship over the past 20 years. Obama’s first appointee, Rocco Landesman, headed Jujamcyn Theaters, a leading producer and landlord for Broadway shows, before Obama tapped him in 2009.
Chu’s appointment is subject to Senate confirmation.
Robert Lynch, president of Americans for the Arts, a leading national advocacy group that pushes for better NEA funding, praised Chu as “a strong nominee” who brings “a valuable mix” of skills that are “important to our nation’s key public sector arts position.”
Chu is in line to be first Asian American leader of a national arts agency.