National Endowment of the Arts leader to speak in Orange County lecture series

Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson
National Endowment of the Arts Chair Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson (David K. Riddick)

The Creative Edge Lecture series will return to the Irvine Barclay Theatre in February and welcome the chair of the National Endowment for the Arts, Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson, to present at its 13th installment.

Dr. Jackson will be the featured speaker at the in-person event, which starts at 10 a.m. on Feb. 7. Admission is free to the members of the public who register for the event online. This program, hosted by Arts Orange County in partnership with the Orange County Department of Education and the Fourth District PTA, has brought together distinguished leaders in the arts to share their knowledge and help inspire educators and artists throughout the community since 2010. 

Nominated by President Biden and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to lead the National Endowment for the Arts in 2021, Dr. Jackson became the agency’s first chair of African American and Mexican American heritage. Her work for the past 25 years has been dedicated to understanding and enhancing arts, design and culture as crucial elements to revitalizing communities, according to Arts Orange County. 

Prior to leading the federal arts agency, Dr. Rosario Jackson taught as a professor in the Herberger Institute for Design and Arts at Arizona State University. In 2012, she was placed on the National Council of the Arts by former President Barack Obama and served there until her current appointment.

She has lent her expertise on advisory boards that focus on equity and the arts, including the Association of Arts Administration Educators, the Los Angeles Commons and the Alliance for California Traditional Arts. Dr. Jackson also served as an advisor to foundations that support philanthropic programs. 

Arts Orange County President and CEO, Richard Stein said Jackson is a longtime advocate for arts and cultural opportunities nationwide.

“We are exceptionally pleased that she will spend time with us to share her observations and to inspire artists, arts leaders, arts patrons, and students at our much-anticipated annual Creative Edge Lecture,” Stein said. “Adding special importance to her appearance, this will be the first visit to Orange County by a National Endowment for the Arts Chair since 1988 — a period during which our arts community has grown tremendously in vitality and diversity.”

Reservations for the free event are now open and can be made through the Irvine Barclay Theatre ticket office.