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 offers curated conversations and events in New York and elsewhere including an Aspen Ideas Festival Track, The Michelle Smith Arts and 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. Program support is generously provided by a dedicated Trustee Committee on Arts and Culture and Arts Circle members.

What We Do

The Aspen Institute Arts 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 Arts Program brings together artists, advocates, educators, foundations, government officials, and others to exchange ideas and develop policies and programs that strengthen the reciprocal relationship between the arts and society.


Erika Mallin joined the Aspen Institute as Executive Director of the Arts Program in September 2018. Mallin was most recently Executive Director of New York City’s Signature Theatre. During her decade-long tenure, Mallin 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. In 2014, Signature became the first New York City theater company to win the Regional Theater Tony Award.

Mallin led New York’s first-ever 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.


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