Bourscheidt to Exit Alliance; Search Launched for Successor

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The following press release comes courtesy of Alliance for the Arts. The Clyde Fitch Report wishes him the very best.

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Randall Bourscheidt to Step Down from Alliance Presidency

The Alliance for the Arts announced today that its long-time President, Randall Bourscheidt, will step down as chief executive officer on Dec. 31, 2010. Mr. Bourscheidt will become President Emeritus and will serve as a consultant to the Alliance to assist on selected projects and initiatives. The Alliance board has appointed a search committee to oversee the transition and select a new leader.

“Randy has been a leading spokesman for the arts in New York City for more than 30 years,” said J.P. Versace, Jr., Chairman of the Alliance. “We are delighted that he will continue to offer his vision and wisdom as the Alliance brings in the next generation of arts advocacy. And we look forward to honoring Randy as a recipient of the Alliance for the Arts Prize, recognizing his 30-year contribution, with a gala dinner in the fall of 2010.”

Mr Bourscheidt said, “I will leave the Alliance proud of what we have accomplished as a team and devoted to continuing my work on behalf of the arts in New York and the nation. I look forward to new opportunities to serve the cultural community, strengthening the connections of arts groups to each other and to their fellow organizations around the world.”

Mr. Bourscheidt has been President of the Alliance since 1989. He served as Deputy Commissioner of Cultural Affairs for New York City in the 1980s, and as Chairman of the New York City Advisory Commission for Cultural Affairs in the 1990s. He is a director of the City Center of Music and Drama, the American Friends of the Paris Opera & Ballet, Artspace Projects, the Center for Performance Research, and Moving Theater; Chairman of the Brendan Gill Prize Jury of the Municipal Art Society; and an advisor to the Center for Architecture. In 2009 he edited a collection of Lincoln Kirstein’s program notes on dance and published The Hudson Valley: A Cultural Guide, the Alliance’s contribution to the Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial Celebration.

Under Mr Bourscheidt’s leadership the Alliance expanded into new program areas, while continuing its advocacy research and audience development efforts. Important programs were established in the early 1990s:

The Estate Project for Artists with AIDS was established as a national program responding to the impact of the pandemic on the arts community. Through the Estate Project, artists received practical advice on planning their estates and publications and exhibitions highlighted their contributions, while archives documenting the work of many artists were established at the New York Public Library.

Mr. Bourscheidt also initiated the Arts Forum, presenting cultural leaders from around the world to leaders of the New York arts community. The program continues as the Arts Forum at The New York Times.

Under Mr Bourscheidt’s leadership, the Alliance broadened its research into the arts industry, building on the foundation of its watershed report The Arts as an Industry: Their Economic Importance to the New York-New Jersey Metropolitan Region (1983). Updated and expanded versions of that study were published in 1993, 1997 and 2006. Complementary analyses of the economic impact of construction projects at nonprofit cultural institutions, Culture Builds New York, were published in 2003 and 2007. In 2001, the Alliance published Who Pays for the Arts? Income for the Nonprofit Cultural Industry in New York City, revised 2008. Two reports assessing the impact of the recession on New York’s cultural organizations were published in January 2009 and May 2010.

Commented Emily K. Rafferty, President of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, “For a generation, Randy Bourscheidt has been a strong and informed champion for the arts, persuasively advocating the positive educational and economic impact of New York’s many cultural institutions. Speaking for our own, and I’m sure many other such institutions, I will very much miss his day-to-day leadership at the Alliance. I congratulate and thank him for all his fine work, and I look forward to working with him in the future.

Martin E. Segal, first Chairman of the New York City Advisory Commission for Cultural Affairs and Chairman Emeritus of Lincoln Center, said, “Under Randy Bourscheidt’s excellent leadership, the Alliance for the Arts has become a major force for the support of the city’s cultural activities. His leadership of the Alliance will be missed, but the impact of what he accomplished will continue to be felt for years to come.”

“The launch of NYC-ARTS.org and NYCkidsARTS.org, the Alliance’s ground-breaking and award-winning connector of all things cultural in New York, illustrate the future of the Alliance,” said Mr. Versace. “Randy’s contribution to our city will be greatly appreciated by coming generations.”

The Alliance for the Arts serves the entire cultural community through research and advocacy and serves the public through cultural guides and calendars. Through its NYC ARTS guides and calendars, the Alliance promotes New York cultural institutions. Through its research studies highlighting the importance of the arts to the economy and to education, the Alliance helps government and civic leaders understand the importance of cultural organizations to New York City. More information on the Alliance’s work can be found at AllianceforArts.org.