ArtsWestchester Announces Visionary CEO Janet Langsam to Move on After 33 Years of Stalwart Leadership

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., Feb. 27, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — After 33 years leading ArtsWestchester, nurturing artists and bolstering the county’s cultural infrastructure, Janet Langsam will transition from CEO to CEO Emeritus effective June 30.

An American cultural advocate, artist and journalist with more than 50 years’ experience as an arts administrator, Langsam is a former Deputy Commissioner of Cultural Affairs for New York City. A seasoned arts executive with an exceptional track record, Langsam’s leadership has been transformative for ArtsWestchester since taking the helm in 1991. She guided the organization to unprecedented accomplishments, including the acquisition and adaptive reuse of the organization’s neo-classical landmark headquarters, the launch of the ArtsMobile, the commissioning of more than 30 works of Public Art throughout Westchester County and the successful management of the organization’s grants program and overall operations throughout the pandemic.

“Janet leaves an indelible mark on New York State. Over her career to date, she has raised hundreds of millions of dollars for the arts as a tireless advocate for arts in our communities,” said John Peckham, Chair of ArtsWestchester’s Board of Directors. He continued, “We are grateful to Janet for her leadership and more than three decades of contributions that have kept the arts alive and vibrant in the Hudson Valley. But more importantly, Janet has fought tirelessly to support the key goals of diversity, equality and inclusion for decades – and that is her proudest legacy.”

Throughout her tenure at ArtsWestchester, Langsam spearheaded fundraising efforts that secured more than $75 million for the arts, highlighting her unparalleled dedication to the cultural vibrancy of the region. The arts council flourished under Langsam’s leadership, seeing its annual budget grow from $1 million to nearly $7 million. During the pandemic, she rallied for the broader arts community by securing $10 million annually for upstate arts councils and $1 million in state funds for ArtsWestchester’s Restart the Arts Program.

A pivotal moment in Langsam’s tenure came in 1998 when under her visionary leadership, ArtsWestchester acquired the historic 12-story bank building in White Plains, transforming it into an arts incubator with new offices, galleries, artist studios and spaces for creative businesses. The investment created a signature home for the organization as well as an income stream. Significantly, this bold vote of confidence in the city’s future played a crucial role in fostering the revitalization of the city’s downtown.

Westchester County Executive George Latimer said, “Janet Langsam leaves an extraordinary legacy of cultural enrichment in Westchester County. Her visionary leadership at ArtsWestchester built the leading cultural organization from the ground up and made it the beacon that it is today. She helped shape the cultural landscape of our region, and for decades has shown her tireless dedication to the arts.”

“For years, Janet Langsam and I have successfully collaborated to bring innovative arts projects to the City of White Plains, attracting people from around the region to our vibrant city,” said White Plains Mayor Tom Roach. “ArtsWestchester’s success is in large part attributed to the adept leadership of Janet. Her creativity and imagination have benefited the city immeasurably and for that, I am grateful. Today, I can call Janet a trusted partner and a dear friend.”

Langsam came to ArtsWestchester — formerly the Westchester Arts Council — after a successful tenure as President and CEO of the Boston Center for the Arts where, among other projects as landlord, she worked with the Boston Ballet to create a new building and rehearsal space. A Queens native, Langsam is a founder and past chair of the board of the Queens Museum. Americans for the Arts recognized her twice with the Michael Newton Award and the Selina Roberts Ottum Leadership Award.

Langsam served in the administrations of New York City mayors Abe Beame, and Ed Koch as the Deputy Commissioner of Cultural Affairs. During her tenure during New York City’s fiscal crisis, she leveraged more than $30 million in new funds for the arts. Later as a Housing Commissioner, she jumpstarted a city housing project that converted tenement buildings into artist housing. She worked with the Lindsay administration on a federally funded pilot program to decentralize city government services through community planning boards. Her ability to navigate the complexities of government and her advocacy for the arts later resulted in successful public/private partnerships with four Westchester County executives — Andrew O’Rourke, Andrew Spano, Rob Astorino, and George Latimer. She is also Immediate Past-President of ARTS NYS, a state-wide service organization with a primary purpose to strengthen the arts throughout New York State.

A nationwide search for Langsam’s successor is underway with a selection expected to be announced this spring.

SOURCE ArtsWestchester

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