Pete Hamill, Chairman
If you have read his most excellent memoir, A Drinking Life, you know that he originally planned to become an artist, but he soon discovered a talent for journalism. He made his reputation as a reporter, sportswriter and columnist and eventually rose to become editor-in-chief of both the New York Post and the New York Daily News. These days he's a multimedia man of letters. Appearing frequently on radio and television, he has clearly made the transition from interviewer to interviewee. To give you an idea of his breadth, in your local bookstore, you will find his works in fiction, in non-fiction and in art. And you will find his articles and op-ed pieces in such diverse locations as The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, or Digital City on the Internet.
After a notable career as a dancer, she co-founded and served as Executive Director of the Feld Ballet. She moved on from that success to acquire and establish the Joyce Theater, which is now New York's preeminent theater for dance. In 1990, she was named President of the New 42nd Street Inc., an organization formed to save seven decaying, legitimate theaters along 42nd Street. The proof of her success in that job can be seen just a short walk from here in the New Victory Theater, the Ford Center, and a host of other projects well along in the development process.
Early in his career, he played roles in the city administrations of Mayors Linsay, Beam and Koch, most famously as the Parks Commissioner in the Koch Administration. An attorney by profession, his clients include many corporations and a wide variety of not-for-profit organizations. Among the arts boards he serves on are the Dance Theater of Harlem, the Municipal Arts Society, the New York Public Library, the New York Public Theater Shakespeare Festival, and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. He is the founding chairman of the newest constituent member of Lincoln Center, Jazz at Lincoln Center, the largest program in the world devoted to jazz in music.
In 1979, he was asked to run a small, summer opera festival in Cooperstown, New York. It ran two productions, held eight performances, had an audience of less than 3000, and a budget of $71,000. He still runs that festival today, but it now has four productions, 43 performances, an audience of 32,000, and a budget of $4.5 million. It is, of course, the highly regarded Glimmerglass Opera. In 1996, he took on the additional responsibility of General and Administrative Director of the New York City Opera, where he has brought new and innovative programs and policies that have attracted new audiences and quite a bit of media attention. This season, he's putting on eight new productions, including one entitled "Central Park," which consists of three one-act operas with librettos by three very well-known American Playwrights: Wendy Wasserstein, A.R. Gurney and Terrence McNally. And music by three new American composers: Debra Datrell, Michael Torque, and Robert Beezer. I'm told Ms. may even be with us tonight.
A Midwesterner by birth, he started his career at the Walker Arts Center in Minneapolis moved on to the Fort Worth Art Museum, and made his name as the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, which he joined in 1980 and where he served from 1982 until this past June. He is now President of the Arts Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. He has a distinguished record of service on a long list of arts panels commissions, both within and outside the United States, and frequently is called upon for his special experience in the design and construction of performance and exhibition space. The Wall Street Journal has portrayed him of the very model of the modern arts administrator.