NEA chief pays visit to the Hub

The chairwoman of the National Endowment for the Arts, Jane Chu, swung through town Monday, hosted by Barr Foundation president James Canales for a whirlwind tour of some of the city’s arts digs. Joined by Anita Walker, executive director of the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the pair visited Uphams Corner in Dorchester before heading to the Fairmount Innovation Lab for a discussion about the arts as an economic driver. “It’s an opportunity to establish a relationship because we’re all shaping the arts together,” Chu said of the visit, praising the city’s recent effort to develop a long-range cultural plan. “What I’m most impressed by is this ability for people to listen to what the community wants and needs.” Chu spent the afternoon at Emerson College before making her way to Artists for Humanity for a reception attended by Massachusetts arts mavens. Chu’s next stops are New Hampshire and Utah. With all that traveling, one has to wonder how she keeps the cities straight. “It’s pretty easy,” she said, “when you’ve seen one community, you’ve only seen one community.”