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Jen Cole

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Exec Director
University Staff, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 2102
Executive Director
University Staff, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 2102
Exec Dir National Accelerator + Chief of Staff
University Staff, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 2102

Jennifer Gilligan Cole (Jen) is the Chief of Staff at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University. She also serves as Co-Lead, of The National Collaborative for Creative Work, the Collaborative is a network of creators, policy thinkers, movement makers and change agents that work together to weave projects, partnerships and policy solutions that enable healthy, equitable creative work in America. Cole is the former Executive Director of the Metro Arts: Nashville Office of Arts + Culture where she served nearly a decade as the city’s chief cultural officer working with the mayor, elected officials, artists, cultural organizations, public agencies and community leaders and activist to explore how arts and cultural participation were central to community prosperity and health. Her efforts in creative placemaking, innovative investments, public policy and cultural justice/equity were national models of practice.  She has served as board member of Americans for the Arts, chaired the US Urban Arts Federation, serves in a variety of advisory capacities with national arts and policy groups including: Creative Youth Development Network, PolicyLink, ArtPlace America, Grantmakers in the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. She has more than 25+ years of experience working in transformational community development, youth development, and cultural leadership in both nonprofit and government settings. She has held leadership roles in national social/educational nonprofits, launched her own consulting firm, led gubernatorial special projects and developed national youth and community programs for a range of nonprofit and corporate clients from Nickelodeon the JP Morgan Chase. Cole is passionate about arts for all and intersectional work that centers community power and justice. 


B.A. English, with honors, Mary Washington University

Research Interests: 

Cultural Policy, Public Sector and Arts/Culture, Community Collaborations, Equitable Creative Workforce, Cultural Philanthropy

Research Group: 

ASU COVID-19, Arts & Humanities

Research Activity: 

Public Sector Policy and Arts/Culture