The Board of Trustees of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) today announced the appointment of Craig T. Peterson as President following a six-month nationwide search and a unanimous decision by the board.
Peterson, who assumes the presidency of the LMCC on October 17, 2022, comes at a very important time for the LMCC as he celebrates half a century as a cultural leader in New York and embarks on a campaign to support the next fifty years of the Governors Island Center for the Arts to help establish the island as a publicly accessible global center for arts and culture, research, development and education focused on climate solutions and environmental sustainability. A dynamic curator, programmer and producer who has championed artists at all stages of their careers and across all disciplines, Peterson brings more than three decades of experience in arts and culture leadership and advocacy to the LMCC.
“We are delighted to welcome Craig to the LMCC. Craig brings an exceptional record of artistic vision, community engagement and leadership to LMCC,” said Timur Galen, Chairman of the LMCC Board of Directors. “Among a diverse pool of very strong candidates, Craig stood out as someone whose aspirations and abilities are a profound match to ours. His passion and expertise in supporting artists as essential catalysts for development and community sustainability are fundamental to our mission.From the wide range of multidisciplinary projects, he has curated and presented in different settings and to diverse audiences across New York and beyond, for the evident care and commitment he brings to the job with his professional team and colleagues, we are truly excited to have Craig join us in leading LMCC into the future.”
“As a cultural programmer for the past three decades, I have long admired the support the LMCC provides for artists and the innovative cultural programming it brings to the City,” said Craig Peterson. “The generosity of LMCC’s programming, not only through its extensive grantmaking efforts, but with the free public art festival, River To River, makes LMCC a vibrant and exciting place to pursue my career. Most exciting is perhaps the opportunity to further the mission of The Arts Center on Governors Island, which has become a beacon of support for artists to create, gather and collaborate in one of New York’s most unique environments. that artists are the heart of New York, and we must do everything we can to increase their capacity to innovate and present work, especially as we emerge from the pandemic. I am delighted to bring my skills, my experience and my passion at LMCC to help shape a sustainable future for our creative communities.
Peterson joins the LMCC from his previous dual role at Henry Street Settlement: Vice President for Visual and Performing Arts and Executive Artistic Director of the Abrons Arts Center, a home for contemporary interdisciplinary arts in Manhattan’s bustling Lower East Side. . While there, Peterson led programming and advocacy for diverse artist communities at the multi-purpose Abrons arts space which housed educational programs, residencies, exhibitions and presentations. Prior to his role at Abrons and Henry Street Settlement, Peterson was Co-Artistic Director of Dance Theater Workshop (DTW, now known as New York Live Arts) and Director of DTW’s Community Development Program from 1996 to 2004; Designer of the Live Arts Brewery (LAB), an artistic research and development program of the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival (now known as FringeArts); and director of the Philly Fringe Festival. Peterson also served as Director of Programs at Gibney Dance, where he organized and directed programming for Dance Center’s dance studios, performance venues, and public art gallery.
Peterson is a graduate of the Executive Leadership Program at Columbia University’s School of Business, received a BA in Dance and Theater from Bard College, and currently serves on the board of directors of the MAP Fund, Big Dance Theater and the ‘Alliance of Artists Communities.
LMCC began its search in the spring after it was announced that Lili Chopra would step down as president to become a special adviser to the board. The board formed a research working group chaired by Ekene Ezulike, chair of the board’s nominations and governance committee, and retained Phillips Oppenheim (PO) as a research consultant. Over the following months, more than 140 people were reached, both as potential candidates and sources of referrals, which ultimately generated a pool of more than 40 candidates. Seven of them were invited for first-round interviews, which led to two finalist candidates who conducted additional interviews and visits to the LMCC and the Arts Center on Governors Island. The research task force was unanimous in recommending that the board hire Peterson.
“On behalf of the Research Working Group and the Board, I am pleased that such an outstanding group of individuals wanted to be considered for this position within LMCC,” said Ekene Ezulike, President of the Research Group. research work. “It is equally gratifying that Craig has emerged from this group with such evident strengths and preparation. This is an important moment for LMCC as we begin a new chapter, and we are fortunate to have Craig to guide us through this. through it.”
LMCC was founded in 1973 as the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, driven by the belief that artists are pillars of resilience and inspiration, and essential to New York’s cultural life. As the arts council for the borough of Manhattan, the LMCC serves, connects, and makes space for artists and the community.
Originally created to improve the quality of life in Lower Manhattan and the Financial District through free cultural programs at the World Trade Center Plaza, LMCC’s work has grown in terms of programming, impact on community and ability to serve artists and communities throughout Manhattan and Governors. Island.
LMCC’s Artist Services programs provide artists with essential resources to develop their work, including funding, studio space, professional development, and networking opportunities. Since 1997, LMCC’s artist residency programs have supported more than 1,500 artists in Lower Manhattan and Governors Island. As the largest redistributor of funding from New York City and State, the LMCC Grants Program awards more than $1.5 million annually to Manhattan-based artists and arts organizations, supporting hundreds of local and neighborhood arts projects through grassroots local arts programming.
As a curator and producer, LMCC brings free public programs, performances, and artistic experiences to hundreds of thousands of viewers each year through the River To River Festival, downtown’s largest free summer arts festival. New York City; Open Studios with LMCC artists in residence; and work developed and presented at the Arts Center on Governors Island, a 40,000 square foot arts space for residency programs, exhibitions, workshops, lectures, and more.
In the face of the relentless changes that impact lives globally and locally, LMCC remains a champion of New York’s independent artists and a model of resilience and cultural leadership. Looking ahead to its 50th anniversary in 2023, LMCC continues its commitment to serving artists while leveraging its unique model of public-private partnerships, creating a fertile environment for artists to deepen their creative practices, share their process with their local communities and to thrive in their local neighborhoods and beyond.