Past Event: Cultivating Culture in NYC
New York City’s Cultural Institutions Group (CIG) is an unparalleled public-private initiative dating back to the 19th century. Today, it provides City support to 34 institutions across the five boroughs that help cement New York’s status as the cultural capital of the world. This robust public investment in diverse private non-profit organizations, provides the city with a bounty of cultural and educational options. In this conversation, cultural leaders Whitney Donhauser of the Museum of the City of New York, Rob Fields of Weeksville Heritage Center, Thelma Golden of The Studio Museum in Harlem, and Daniel Weiss of the Metropolitan Museum of Art sit down with John Calvelli, CIG Chair from 2017-2019, to discuss the challenges facing the city’s arts and cultural organizations today.
This program is inspired by the Museum’s exhibition, Cultivating Culture: 34 Institutions That Changed New York (through February 9, 2020).
About the Speakers:
Whitney W. Donhauser joined the Museum of the City of New York (MCNY) as president and Ronay Menschel Director in January 2016. Her appointment follows a 23-year career in museum management at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, including policy and masterplan development, capital projects, and fundraising. At MCNY, Donhauser has overseen the final phases of New York at Its Core, a permanent exhibition that opened in November 2016 on the four-century history of New York City, and is currently leading the implementation of the four-year Strategic Plan commissioned in 2018.
Rob Fields is the president and executive director of Weeksville Heritage Center. A cultural curator and marketer, he also maintains his online magazine, Bold As Love, which advocates for and highlights progressive, left-of-center global black culture. In the fall of 2017, Fields relaunched his TED-inspired New Black Imagination Festival, and from 2013-2015 co-curated the reading series, Sundays At... He has previously worked for non-profit arts organizations such as the Caribbean Cultural Center and the Black Rock Coalition. Fields' writing has appeared in Forbes, The Huffington Post, The Root, and The Grio, to name a few.
Thelma Golden is director and chief curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem, where she began her career in 1987 before joining the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1988. She returned to the Studio Museum in 2000 and was named director and chief curator in 2005. Golden was appointed to the Committee for the Preservation of the White House by President Obama in 2010 and in 2015 joined the Barack Obama Foundation’s Board of Directors. She was the recipient of the 2016 Audrey Irmas Award for Curatorial Excellence, and in 2018 was awarded a J. Paul Getty Medal.
Daniel Weiss is president and CEO of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Previously, Weiss served as the president of Haverford College and Lafayette College, and the James B. Knapp Dean of the School of Arts & Sciences at Johns Hopkins University, where he also served as professor and chair of the History of Art Department. Weiss has written or edited six books and numerous articles on the art of the Middle Ages, higher education, and 20th century history. He holds a Ph.D from Johns Hopkins University and an MBA from the Yale School of Management.
John Calvelli (moderator) was the chair of the Cultural Institutions Group (CIG) in New York City from 2017-2019. A long-time leading advocate for cultural organizations big and small across the city, he was elected CIG chair in September 2017. Calvelli was the founder of the One Percent for Culture Campaign which recently merged with The New York City Arts Coalition to form New Yorkers for Culture & Arts. He is also currently the executive vice president of public affairs for the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). Prior to joining WCS in 2000, Calvelli served as the senior staff person to Rep. Eliot Engel (D-Bronx) in Washington, D.C.