NEA Chair Jane Chu to attend Indiana University arts symposium and theater production

  • Feb. 25, 2015


INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana University alumna Jane Chu, chair of the National Endowment for the Arts, will join arts leaders from around the country at a symposium in Indianapolis on Saturday, March 7.

The theme is “Community Engagement and Development Through the Arts” and it is led by arts administration faculty at the IU Bloomington School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

“This is a great way to honor the work of Dr. Chu and a chance to share the experiences and insights of arts leaders from across the U.S. whose work is directly tied to the quality of life and development of their cities and regions,” SPEA’s Michael Rushton said.

The event begins at 8:30 a.m. in the Basile Auditorium at the Herron School of Art and Design on the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis campus. It is open to the public, but organizers request attendees RSVP to

Chu has been chair of the National Endowment for the Arts since June and formerly served as president and CEO of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, Mo. She earned her doctorate in philanthropic studies from the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy in Indianapolis.

Chu will speak about the direction of the NEA as it relates to creative placemaking, including trends and plans for the future. Her address will follow a symposium with two panels. SPEA IU Bloomington professor Joanna Woronkowicz will moderate the first panel on the role of arts organizations in community engagement. Panelists include:

  • Laura Zabel, executive director of Springboard for the Arts in St. Paul, Minn.
  • Joan Squires, president of Omaha Performing Arts in Nebraska.

Rushton will moderate the second discussion on the role of arts funders with panelists:

  • Jennifer Cole, executive director of the Metro Nashville Arts Commission.
  • Karen Gahl-Mills, executive director of the Cuyahoga Arts and Culture in Cleveland.

At the conclusion of the IUPUI symposium, Chu will travel to Bloomington for a visit to the Jacobs School of Music and to attend an IU Opera Theater production of "South Pacific."

Chu’s visit to Indiana will also include a meeting with all current NEA grantees in Indiana and a site visit to the Indianapolis Art Center with the Indiana Arts Commission, as well as meetings with SPEA IUPUI students and with the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy’s students, board of visitors, faculty and staff.

This is her second recent visit to the region; she delivered the IU Bloomington 2014 winter commencement address in December.

Support for the symposium has been made possible by grants from the Christel DeHaan Family Foundation, USA Funds, Tom and Bonnie Reilly, and the Ball Brothers Foundation, as well as from IUPUI. The host organizations for the Chu visit include SPEA IU Bloomington, SPEA IUPUI, Herron School, Indiana Arts Commission, Jacobs School of Music at IU Bloomington, the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute and the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI.

To attend the symposium, RSVP to Nancy Bell at by March 1.

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