Jason Schupbach became director of Design at the National Endowment for the Arts in May 2010. In this position, he manages the NEA’s grantmaking for design and the NEA’s design initiatives, such as the Mayors’ Institute on City Design as well Our Town, which provides funding in recognition of the role that the arts can play in economic revitalization and in creating livable, sustainable communities.
Prior to coming to the NEA, Schupbach held the first-in-the-nation position of creative economy industry director for the Massachusetts Office of Business Development where his accomplishments included 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.
In December of 2014 Jason along with his colleague Jane Chu from the NEA published the paper Our Town: Supporting the Arts in Communities Throughout the United States which was included in the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco’s Community Development Investment Review.
Why are a farm, a church, a museum, an arboretum, and a festival working together to create a new environmental arts center in rural Freeman, South Dakota? Why are a community loan fund and an office of economic and workforce development working with a local arts agency in San Francisco to secure permanent space for arts organizations? Why are a bank, an energy company, and a music organization collaborating on a series of pop-up performances in suburban Maize, Kansas? The answer: They are all working on projects funded by Our Town grants.