The United States Senate voted today to confirm Mary Anne Carter as chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Carter has been serving as acting chair of the agency since June 5, 2018 and was officially nominated for the position by President Trump, who has been trying to eliminate both the NEA and the National Endowment for the Humanities since he took office, in November. She is the twelfth person to helm the agency since its inception in 1965.
Under her leadership, Carter has worked to expand arts therapy programs such as Creative Forces—which helps US service members and veterans recovering from post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries, among other health conditions—and national initiatives such as Shakespeare in American Communities, NEA Big Read, and Poetry Out Loud. She has also held public meetings of the National Council on the Arts in Charleston, West Virginia, and Detroit, Michigan, in an attempt to make the agency more accessible.
“From inspiring thousands of arts administrators and supporters in cities and states across America, to representing the United States abroad in demonstrating the importance of collaboration and communication across cultures at the International Federation of Arts Council and Cultural Agencies conference in Kuala Lumpur, Mary Anne understands the inherent value of the arts, the importance of using the arts to help enhance quality of life, and the transformative power it has to individuals as well as to places,” Americans for the Arts president and CEO Robert L. Lynch said.
Prior to her appointment, Carter had little experience in the arts. She was a chief policy adviser to Florida Senator Rick Scott when he was serving as governor and is the founder and president of MAC Research, Inc., a consulting firm that specializes in political and public affairs. She also worked as director of US Senate Relations at the Heritage Foundation, a public policy think tank in Washington, DC. Following her confirmation, Carter said: “I look forward to continuing to lead a talented and dedicated staff of professionals in our important work of ensuring that every American—in every community and in every neighborhood—has access to the arts.”