Brooklyn Arts Council Welcomes New Executive Director

By: Jul. 27, 2015
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Dr. Thomas F. Schutte, Board Chair of Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC), announced today that Charlotte Cohen has been named executive director of one of the borough's premier non-profit cultural organizations. She succeeds Ella J. Weiss who is retiring after serving 16 years as president of the organization.

Cohen, whose arts and culture experience includes service with the federal government, the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs and the Smithsonian Institution, will assume her new post on August 31, 2015.

"We are pleased to welcome Charlotte to Brooklyn Arts Council. Though Ella leaves big shoes to fill, Charlotte brings a wealth of invaluable experiences to this new role and a strong connection to artists and the arts. We are confident she will be a great asset to both BAC and our constituents, thanks to her strong knowledge of the artistic landscape of Brooklyn, a commitment to public service, and her rich experience of more than 30 years as an accomplished administrator in the field of contemporary art," says Dr. Schutte.

For the last ten years, Cohen served as Fine Arts Officer at the U.S. General Services Administration where she oversaw every aspect of the federal government's fine arts collection in the Northeast and Caribbean region. Previously, she was the director of Percent for Art, New York City's permanent public art program administered by the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, where she worked closely with artists in all stages of their careers and from across the globe. She also served as project director at the Smithsonian Institution's Traveling Exhibition Service and program director and curator at Maryland Art Place, a contemporary art center in Baltimore, Maryland.

A third-generation Brooklynite, Cohen is committed to promoting and expanding access to the arts throughout the borough. She has served on the boards of a range of local, national, and international cultural non-profit organizations and has lectured nationally and internationally on issues surrounding contemporary and public art. She is a faculty member at the School of Visual Art's Master's Program in Curatorial Practice and is on the editorial board of Public Art Dialogue.

"I am so proud to bring my experience in public service home to Brooklyn, the most vibrant and dynamic artistic community in the country," said Cohen. "Ella Weiss has been an extraordinary leader who helped shepherd Brooklyn's cultural renaissance over the last sixteen years. I am deeply honored to carry on her mission to support and strengthen the borough's thriving and ever-evolving cultural life, and to ensure that everyone has access to it."

Ella J. Weiss said: "Over the last 16 years, BAC has played a pivotal role in shaping the arts community in the borough. We've been at the helm of providing much needed resources to artists and arts organizations in every neighborhood from Brownsville to Bay Ridge. It's been exciting, rewarding, and immensely gratifying to be part of such a trailblazing organization. It's my belief that Charlotte will enrich and continue my legacy of keeping Brooklyn alive with art."

A cultural anchor in Brooklyn since 1966, Brooklyn Arts Council serves artists and arts organizations in all disciplines, and enriches the cultural life of the borough by providing access to affordable arts experiences to Brooklyn residents of all ages and backgrounds throughout the borough. BAC administers the annual re-grant programs of the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs and the NY State Council on the Arts, which provide funding to hundreds of emerging and established Brooklyn artists and arts organizations, helping launch new projects across the borough. BAC also presents arts events, maintains an extensive artist registry and directory of organizations, trains artists and arts professionals, and provides educational services for students and seniors.

Dr. Schutte added: "As Kings County's foremost supporter of artists and community arts organizations, our leadership has worked with some of the most influential artists and arts organizations in Brooklyn. Collectively, BAC's programs benefit some 15,000 Brooklyn artists and cultural groups every year, reaching more than a quarter of a million residents."

Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC) is the borough's leading nonprofit organization supporting artists and cultural groups in all disciplines. BAC reaches hundreds of thousands of artists and audience members each year through literary, performing and visual arts, web-based directories and communities, arts education, urban folk arts initiatives, grants, training programs and art services.


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