Arts Program


The Aspen Institute Arts Program champions the role of artists and cultural leaders as critical thought leaders, futurists and changemakers. Through our programs, the Institute’s well-known convening power and its vast network, we bring artists and cultural influencers to our audiences to celebrate and learn from their work and connect them with leaders across all fields to enlighten and to inspire us to face some of our greatest challenges.

In furtherance of the Institute’s commitment to drive change through dialogue, leadership and action, the Arts Program was established to ensure the inclusion of artists in  addressing some of society’s most complex problems. The Arts Program is based in New York City, and convenes events there, in Washington, D.C., Aspen, CO and beyond. Our Programs include: the Michelle Smith Arts & Culture Series, the Arts Track at the Aspen Ideas Festival, the Eisner/Lauder New Views Documentaries and Dialogue Series, and the year-long Harman/Eisner Artist in Residence Program.


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), Mercedes T. Bass, Paula Crown, Alan Fletcher, Betsy, Fleming, Jane Harman, Leonard A. Lauder, Melony Lewis, Anne McNulty, Jane Nathanson, Anna Deavere Smith and Laurie M. Tisch.

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