The Board of Directors of Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) announced today the appointment of Craig T. Peterson as President following a six-month national search and a unanimous Board decision. Peterson, who assumes the Presidency of LMCC on October 17, 2022, arrives at a very important moment in time for LMCC as it celebrates half a century as a cultural leader in New York City, and embarks on a campaign to support the next fifty years of The Arts Center at Governors Island in helping to advance the Island as a publicly accessible, global hub for arts and culture, research, development, and education centered on climate solutions and environmental sustainability. A dynamic curator, programmer, and producer who has championed artists throughout all career stages and disciplines, Peterson brings over three decades of experience in arts and cultural leadership and advocacy to LMCC.
“We are thrilled to welcome Craig to LMCC. Craig brings an exceptional record of artistic vision, community engagement, and leadership to LMCC,” said Timur Galen, Chair of LMCC’s Board of Directors. “Among a diverse pool of very strong candidates, Craig stood out as someone with aspirations and capabilities that deeply align with ours. His passion and expertise in support of artists as essential catalysts for community development and sustainability is fundamental to our mission. From the broad range of multidisciplinary projects he has curated and presented in different environments and to diverse audiences throughout New York and beyond, to the evident care and commitment he brings to working with his professional team and colleagues, we are truly delighted that Craig will be joining us to lead LMCC into the future.”
“As a cultural programmer over the last three decades, I have long admired the support that LMCC provides to artists and the innovative cultural programming that it brings to the city,” said Craig Peterson. “The generosity of LMCC’s programming, not only through its expansive granting efforts but with the free public art festival, River To River, makes LMCC a dynamic and exciting place to continue my career. Perhaps most thrilling is the opportunity to advance the mission of The Arts Center at Governors Island, which has become a beacon of support for artists to create, gather and collaborate in one of NYC’s most unique environments. I believe that artists are the heartbeat of NYC and we must make every effort to increase their ability to innovate and present work, particularly as we emerge from the pandemic. I am excited to bring my skills, experience, and passion to LMCC to help craft a sustainable future for our creative communities.”
Peterson joins LMCC from his previous dual role at Henry Street Settlement: Vice President for Visual and Performing Arts and Executive Artistic Director of Abrons Arts Center, a home for contemporary interdisciplinary arts in Manhattan’s vibrant Lower East Side neighborhood. While there, Peterson led programming and advocacy for diverse artist communities at Abrons’ multi-use arts space that 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 1996-2004; Designer of the Live Arts Brewery (LAB), a program for artistic research and development in 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 curated and directed programming for the Dance Center’s dance studios, performance venues, and public art gallery.
Peterson is a graduate of the Executive Leadership Program of Columbia University’s School of Business, received a BA in Dance and Theater from Bard College and currently serves on the board of directors for the MAP Fund, Big Dance Theater and the Alliance of Artists Communities.
LMCC began its search in Spring following the announcement that Lili Chopra would step down as President to become a Special Advisor to the Board of Directors. The Board formed a search task force chaired by Ekene Ezulike, chair of the Board’s Nominations & Governance Committee, and retained Phillips Oppenheim (PO) as its search consultant. Through the subsequent months, outreach was made to over 140 individuals, as both prospective candidates and sources for recommendations, which ultimately generated a pool of more than 40 candidates. Seven of those were invited for first round interviews, leading to two finalist candidates who completed additional interviews and visits to LMCC and The Arts Center at Governors Island. The search task force was unanimous in its recommendation to the Board of Trustees that they hire Peterson.
“On behalf of the Search Task Force and the Board of Directors, I am gratified that such a remarkable group of people wanted to be considered for this position with LMCC,” said Ekene Ezulike, chair of the Search Task Force. “It is equally gratifying that Craig emerged from this group with such evident strengths and preparedness. This is an important moment for LMCC as we begin a new chapter, and we are fortunate to have Craig to lead us through it.”
LMCC was founded in 1973 as Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, driven by the belief that artists are pillars of resilience and inspiration, and vital to New York City’s cultural life. As the borough of Manhattan’s arts council, LMCC serves, connects, and makes space for artists and community.