National Endowment for the Arts Announces Jason Schupbach as the New Director of Design

Date: 
Apr 14, 2010

Washington, DC -- The National Endowment for the Arts announced today that Jason Schupbach will join the NEA as Director of Design at the end of May.

Jason Schupbach

Mr. Schupbach brings to the NEA an impressive background of support for the creative economy and the design field as well as experience working with local, state, and federal agencies. He currently serves as the Creative Economy Industry Director for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, where one of his primary focuses is the growth and support of all types of design businesses. Mr. Schupbach has also worked as Capital Projects Manager for the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and Director of Boston's ArtistLink, an organization that creates a stable environment for Massachusetts artists as they seek workspace and housing.

At the NEA, Mr. Schupbach will manage the NEA's grantmaking for design and the NEA's design initiatives, such as the Mayors' Institute on City Design as well as the proposed Our Town, which is part of the NEA FY 2011 budget request and would provide funding in recognition of the role that the arts can play in economic revitalization and in creating livable, sustainable communities.

"Jason brings to the NEA an incredible knowledge of the design world and the many ways that art can transform communities," says NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman. "His experience working with design professionals and members of the government has prepared him to direct the NEA as a leader in smart design."

"I am incredibly excited to be working with the National Endowment for the Arts as they embark on important new smart design initiatives and continue to provide invaluable support for design projects through the NEA's core grant programs," says Mr. Schupbach. "From the Mayors' Institute for City Design 25th Anniversary Grants to the new Our Town program, the new leadership of the Endowment is embracing innovative creative placemaking policies. I'm honored to be part of the team which will implement these strategies to revitalize our communities and put Americans back to work."

Since 2008, Mr. Schupbach has held the first-in-the-nation position of Creative Economy Industry Director for the Massachusetts Office of Business Development where his accomplishments include coordinating the growth of new industry cluster groups, such as the Design Industry Group of Massachusetts (DIGMA), and launching a Design Excellence initiative, an effort to improve procurement processes in Massachusetts in order to build more sustainable and longer-lasting buildings and communities, and increase the number of designers being offered contracts.

"Jason has set a national standard here in Massachusetts for connecting the various and diverse sectors of the creative economy to the public and academic agencies throughout the state," said Massachusetts Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Greg Bialecki. "He has been a critical resource for innovation and collaboration for the Commonwealth, and I'm certain he will offer the same to the NEA."

David Hacin, co-chair of DIGMA and principal architect with Hacin + Associates Inc. says, "Jason is a fantastic choice for this important position. In Massachusetts, Jason has played a pivotal role in developing and promoting DIGMA. Jason brings great energy, commitment and intelligence to everything he does and he will be a tremendous asset to the NEA as it pursues its goals of connecting all Americans to the richness and power of great design."

From 2004 to 2008, Mr. Schupbach was director of ArtistLink, where among other duties he managed a statewide artist space development technical assistance initiative that resulted in the creation of more than 60 projects in 20 communities for a total of 350 units of live/work spaces and more than 500,000 square feet of artist space. In addition, he managed the first ever artist housing predevelopment grant program, giving out $50,000 in awards.

Over the course of his career, Mr. Schupbach has worked with such organizations as Artspace, an organization which creates, fosters, and preserves affordable space for artists and arts organizations. L. Kelley Lindquist, president of Artspace, says, "Jason has a keen understanding of urban design that has grown out of his work in cities of all sizes across the U.S. Jason's experience spans historic preservation, new construction, and in-fill development, all with an emphasis on sustainability and green design. Artspace has had the privilege of working with Jason many times. His openness and knowledge of the field will be outstanding attributes in his new position."

Mr. Schupbach's experience also includes serving as National Artist Space Initiative Consultant for Leveraging Investments in Creativity from 2003 to 2007, where he was the key editor for two reports from the Urban Institute on developing artist space. From 2003 to 2004 Mr. Schupbach worked as Capital Projects Manager and Staff Urban Planner/Designer for New York City's Department of Cultural Affairs. In this position, his accomplishments included managing more than $100 million in capital projects for cultural institutions in coordination with other New York City agencies and assisting in the development of guidelines to involve artists in streetscape design and planning processes in New York City.

Mr. Schupbach received his B.S. in Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his master's degree in City Planning with an Urban Design Certificate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

IHCD congratulates our colleague and friend from the Design Industry Group of Massachusetts (DIGMA)!