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Trump Nominates Mary Anne Carter to Lead the National Endowment for the Arts

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Mary Anne Carter—a former chief policy adviser to Republican Florida Governor Rick Scott, who is currently campaigning for one of the state’s Senate seats—has been nominated to run the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) by President Donald Trump. The agency, which has survived Trump’s numerous attempts to have federal arts funding eliminated, was previously chaired by Jane Chu, who was appointed by former president Barack Obama. Carter has served as acting chair of the NEA since Chu’s term expired in June.

While the nomination, which must be approved by the Senate before it is made official, was not unexpected, it is still unconventional. Carter has almost no background in the arts. Prior to her appointment, she worked in public policy analysis, issue tracking, and corporate and campaign communications as a public affairs consultant. According to her biography on the NEA’s website, since she was named acting chair of the agency, she has focused on expanding the arts therapy program Creative Forces—which aims to help US service members and veterans recovering from post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, and other psychological health conditions—and on bolstering initiatives such as Shakespeare in American Communities, NEA Big Read, Poetry Out Loud, Jazz Masters, and the National Heritage Fellowships.

Despite Trump’s calls to defund the NEA, Congress passed a bill allocating $155 million to the NEA and the National Endowment for the Humanities—which Trump is also trying to ax—for the 2018–19 fiscal year.

November 6, 2018