Aspen Institute Arts Program

The Arts Program gives platform to artists and cultural leaders as some of society’s most important innovators and influencers with programs designed to bring to the forefront their work as well as their perspective on today’s most pressing issues. These programs include the Michelle Smith Arts & Culture Series, the Aspen Ideas Festival Arts track, the Eisner/Lauder New Views Documentaries and Dialogue Series, and the year-long Harman/Eisner Artist in Residence program, which more deeply explores the work of these artists and their influence on society. The Program also fosters connections to the vast network of other Aspen Institute Policy and Initiative groups for wider impact across all fields. Based in New York City, the Program is supported by a dedicated trustee Committee on Arts and Culture and Arts Circle members.


The Arts Program is led by Executive Director Erika Mallin who joined the Aspen Institute in September 2018. Prior to joining Aspen Institute, Mallin was Executive Director of New York City’s Signature Theatre, where she led Signature’s expansion to the Frank Gehry-designed Pershing Square Signature Center, the largest new theater center built in the city in nearly 50 years. Mallin led New York’s first subsidized ticket program in an effort to make theater accessible to new and diverse audiences. During this time, she expanded the program, doubled the funding and analyzed the impact on attracting underserved audiences.  To date, the program has served over one million people and has become a national model. Mallin has also worked in New York City government and as a journalist reporting on local politics and economic development.

The Committee on the Arts and Culture of the Board of trustees of the Aspen Institute is comprised of passionately driven business and civic leaders, accomplished artists and philanthropists. Committee Members include: Michael D. Eisner (Chair), Michelle Smith (Vice-Chair), Mercedes T. Bass, Paula Crown, Alan Fletcher, Jane Harman, Leonard Lauder, Melony Lewis, Anne McNulty, Jane Nathanson, Anna Deavere Smith and Laurie M. Tisch.

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