Maria Rosario Jackson

Adjunct Instructor

  • Program:
    Arts Leadership
  • Division:
    Scholarly and Professional Studies
  • Expertise:
    Arts Leadership


Maria Rosario Jackson’s expertise is in comprehensive community revitalization, systems change, the dynamics of race and ethnicity and the role of arts and culture in communities. She consults with national and regional foundations and government agencies on strategic planning and research.

In 2013, with U.S. Senate confirmation, President Obama appointed Jackson to the National Council on the Arts. She is on the advisory board of the Lambent Foundation and on the boards of directors of the Alliance for California Traditional Arts and LA Commons. Previously she was on the boards of the Association for Performing Arts Presenters, the National Performance Network, the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, Cultural Alliance for Greater Washington, Fund for Folk Culture and the Dunbar Economic Development Corporation.

Jackson advises a number of national and regional projects focusing on arts leadership, arts organizations and changing demographics and arts and health. She has been on faculty at Claremont Graduate University where she has taught cultural policy and the role of arts and culture in communities. She is currently the James Irvine Foundation Fellow in Residence at the Luskin School of Public Affairs at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Previously, for almost 20 years, Jackson was based at the Urban Institute, a public policy research organization in Washington, D.C. She was a senior research associate in the Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center and founding director of UI’s Culture, Creativity and Communities Program. At UI, she led pioneering research on arts and culture indicators, measuring cultural vitality, the role of arts and culture in community revitalization, the development of art spaces, and support systems for artists. She also was a senior researcher on studies of public housing programs, use of urban parks, handgun violence prevention and teacher training initiatives for urban schools.

Jackson earned a Ph.D. in Urban Planning from the University of California, Los Angeles. She holds a Master of Public Administration degree (emphasis in Community Development) from the University of Southern California.