Jane Chu, the former head of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), has joined PBS as an arts adviser, the organization announced July 10. PBS offers arts and cultural programming to millions of people; in the 2016–2017 season, the organization provided nearly 600 hours of television and digital content seen by close to 110 million people.
In her new role at PBS, Chu will help identify opportunities for public media to broaden access and representation in its presentation of the arts to audiences nationwide.
“PBS has long been a welcoming home for the arts and a source of education and inspiration for all ages. There is nothing else like it in the media landscape today,” said Chu in a statement. “I look forward to working with the tremendous team at PBS to leverage public media’s broad influence, strong arts platform and local roots to help make the arts even more accessible, inclusive, representative and resilient.”
Chu announced in May that she was resigning from her role as Arts Chair of the NEA after a four-year term. Selected to lead the NEA by President Barack Obama in 2014, Chu guided the federal arts agency through one of the most challenging periods in its 50-year history when the Trump administration released its 2018 budget plan, calling for the elimination of the vital arts agency. Thanks to bipartisan support, the NEA’s future was secured in March when the Senate approved a budget that not only preserved the agency, but increased its funding.
Previously, Chu spent eight years leading the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, Missouri, overseeing construction of the $413-million center designed by renowned architect Moshe Safdie in 2011. Earlier in her career, she held executive roles in development and philanthropy at Union Station Kansas City, the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, and the Kauffman Fund.
“Jane Chu has been an extremely effective force for arts for many years,” said Paula Kerger, president and CEO of PBS in an online statement. “Beyond her administrative expertise, she is a devoted artist, pianist and an educator. Her background is particularly suited to public media. We are eager to engage her expertise to help bring more of the arts to every American and showcase diverse works that reflect every corner of our nation.”