Recap: NYFA and Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams Honor Brooklyn’s Newest Women Arts Leaders
The New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) and Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams hosted a reception on Thursday, March 3rd at NYFA’s space in DUMBO, Brooklyn to honor three recently appointed women leaders of prominent Brooklyn cultural organizations: Katy Clark, President of the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), Charlotte Cohen, Executive Director of the Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC) and Anne Pasternak, Director of the Brooklyn Museum.
The tone of the evening was celebratory with a clear call to action for Brooklyn institutions to collaborate, be more inclusive, and support artists as a means for driving social change.
175 arts leaders, elected officials, and artists attended, including Alan Maisel, Council Member for 46th District of the New York City Council, Edwin Torres, Deputy Commissioner of the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA), Alan Fishman BAM Board Chair, Katie Hollander, Executive Director, Creative Time, Kathleen Hughes, Assistant Commissioner of the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA), Robbie Welch, Community Liaison for Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Robert Baron, Folk Arts/Music Program Director, New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), Leanne Tintori Wells, Dance/State & Local Partnerships/Decentralization Director at New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), Lisa Kim, Cultural Affairs Director, Two Trees Management, and artists Elia Alba, Deborah Kass, Ken Schles, Dread Scott, and Elizabeth Streb among others.
In his passionate remarks, Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams spoke about Brooklyn’s diversity and the ability for the arts to embrace all communities, “Our hyphen is everything that makes us great, Jewish hyphen American, African hyphen American, etc. and we have to make sure our hyphen is protected.” He continued, “Arts is the key. Art feeds the anatomy of your spirit…it allows you to see that our differences are not something we should be afraid of, but are something we should embrace. 47% of Brooklynites speak a language other than English at home. We want everyone [regardless of their background] to walk into a Brooklyn cultural institution and feel welcome, visually, verbally, and spiritually.”
NYFA Board Chair, Judith K. Brodsky spoke about the global significance of these women’s appointments, “Despite the issues that women continue to face to achieve parity, the ascendancy of women at these three institutions is symbolic…It is appropriate for this to take place in Brooklyn. NYFA is proud to be located here with the Brooklyn Museum, BAM, and Brooklyn Arts Council; our reach is global, but our roots are local.”
Anne Pasternak talked about her sense of responsibility as the director of the Brooklyn Museum, “I have this extraordinary opportunity by representing 5,500 years of human creativity…to connect that past to the radical present, and to help us see each other and recognize our hyphens whatever they may be.”
The evening closed with NYFA Executive Director Michael L. Royce calling out an artist and NYFA Fellow in the crowd as an example of the sense of community needed in the arts, “We know how hard artists struggle. They have a B job, and C job, and sometimes a D job, and it can be quite brutal to make an economic livelihood in this very expensive city, and this artist, Aeilushi Mistry, walked in and gave us a check for $100 to support our artists’ campaign.” The audience applauded and Charlotte Cohen, Executive Director of Brooklyn Arts Council, raised her hand. Aeilushi Mistry had also donated to them.
Special thanks to Sixpoint Brewery, our official beer sponsor for the night.
Images, from top and L-R: Judith K. Brodsky, Katy Clark, Anne Pasternak, Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams, Charlotte Cohen, Michael L. Royce; Anne Pasternak, Charlotte Cohen, Katy Clark, Alan Maisel; Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams; Judith K. Brodsky addressing the crowd; Kathleen Hughes and fellow guest; Ken Schles and Deborah Kass; Aeilushi Mistry. All photos by Jacque Donaldson.