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Jeff Speck, NEA Director of Design, Resigns

Jeff Speck, director of design for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), announced this afternoon that he is resigning his post after two two-year terms. In an e-mail sent to friends and colleagues, the 43-year-old Speck said that he was announcing his retirement two months early to allow the endowment additional time to locate a replacement. Speck said he is planning to “retire” so that he can “return to private practice as a city planner, doing very much the sort of work I was doing four years ago, but this time on my own schedule.” Speck joined the NEA in June 2003 from his post as director of town planning for Duany Plater-Zyberk.

During his tenure, Speck launched the Governors’ Institute on Community Design, an initiative to help state governors practice innovative community planning. But in his e-mail, Speck said that he will most remember working with panelists who meet to decide the awarding of grant monies. He described these panelists as “the heart and soul of the design program at the NEA.” He added, “The National Endowment for the Arts is a special, remarkable, astounding, inspiring place, with a mission and a sense of purpose like no other I have witnessed. I feel truly honored to have contributed to its important work, and I will miss it deeply.”

James Murdock