Aspen Institute Arts Program

The mission of the Aspen Institute Arts Program is to honor and give platform to artists and cultural leaders as some of society’s most important innovators and influencers. The Program draws upon the Institute’s long-established convening power, and its well-known association with ideas, values and leadership to support and invigorate the role of arts and culture in public life.

The Program encompasses core programs and curated conversations and events in New York, Washington D.C., Aspen and elsewhere including the Aspen Ideas Festival Arts Track, The Michelle Smith Arts & Culture Series, 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 selected artists and their impact on society.


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

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