Jen Hughes

Director of Design and Creative Placemaking
National Endowment for the Arts
Washington, District of Columbia

Jen Hughes was appointed director of Design and Creative Placemaking for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in April 2018, having served as acting director since June 2017. In this position, she oversees grant portfolios that support the design and creative placemaking fields, as well as leadership initiatives that include the Mayors’ Institute on City Design and the Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design.


Since 2011, Hughes has fulfilled multiple roles as design specialist and community solutions specialist at the NEA, playing a significant role in shaping the agency’s creative placemaking and social impact design investments. At the NEA, she has managed federal, philanthropic and local relationships to strategically integrate arts, culture, and design into comprehensive community development plans. Prior to her work at the NEA, she was an urban planner for the District of Columbia and has held communications and business consulting positions in the private sector.


A Philadelphia native, she has a bachelors in management from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a masters in city planning from University of California, Berkeley with a focus on community development and design.