Aspen Institute Announces Former Signature Theatre Director Erika Mallin Appointed Executive Director of Arts Program

May 22, 2018

Mallin to Succeed Damian Woetzel Who Departs July 1 to Become President of the Julliard School

Contact: Jon Purves
Senior Media Relations Associate
The Aspen Institute
202.736.2111 |

Washington, DC, May 22, 2018 –– The Aspen Institute announced today that Erika Mallin has been appointed Executive Director of its Arts Program, succeeding Damian Woetzel who led the program since 2011 and is departing in July to become president of the Julliard School. Mallin has been the Executive Director of Signature Theatre in New York City for the last 10 years and has dedicated her career to New York City arts and government. Under Mallin’s leadership, Signature became one of the nation’s preeminent nonprofit theatre companies, expanding to the $70 million Frank Gehry-designed Pershing Square Signature Center on 42nd Street, tripling its size, and producing over 100 shows with world-class artists.

“Erika’s ability to execute big projects and let artists flourish will enable the Aspen Institute Arts Program to inject cultural appreciation and understanding into public and policy discussions across the country,” said Michael Eisner, Chairman of the Aspen Institute Arts Circle. The Arts Circle supports the Arts Program which elevates and invigorates the role of arts and culture in public life through initiatives, public and private convenings, and strategy work across the United States. The program joins artists, advocates, educators, foundations, government officials, and others to exchange ideas and develop policies and programs to strengthen the reciprocal relationship between the arts and society.

Dedicated to access, Mallin championed Signature’s groundbreaking subsidized ticket program to make theatre affordable to all: to date, the program has served over one million people. In 2014, Signature was the first New York City theater company to receive the Regional Theater Tony Award® for its artistic and civic excellence.

“Erika’s strength is leadership,” said Dan Porterfield, President-Elect and CEO of the Aspen Institute. “Whether she is engaging private and public sector support for the arts, or working to broaden diversity within audiences or the artist community, Erika connects a multitude of perspectives to achieve an artistic vision and message for diverse communities.”

In accepting this position, Mallin said, “I am honored to lead the Aspen Institute’s Arts Program to bring to the forefront artists and their craft and how their work inspires and influences us to understand the critical issues of our time.”

Elliot Gerson, Executive Vice President for Policy and Public Programs, noted “Erika will bring great passion, expertise, and vision to elucidate the role of art in understanding and approaching society’s most pressing issues.”

Prior to her work in theatre, Mallin worked in New York City government and as a journalist. She serves on the Board of NYC’s Trust for Cultural Resources and NYC & Co.

She has guest lectured at Columbia, Yale, NYU, and advises and consults for national and international cultural institutions. Mallin received her MA from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and BA from the University of Michigan.

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit


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