Commissioner, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs
Tom Finkelpearl is an American arts promoter and former museum director who serves as commissioner of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. He was appointed in 2014 by New York City mayor Bill de Blasio. As commissioner, he oversees city funding of nonprofit arts organizations, and is leading an effort to promote cultural diversity in arts programs citywide. His department is in charge of a $156 million budget. His approach to arts has been described as populist and he sees art and artists as making a valuable contribution to the overall economic health of the city. In the aftermath of hurricane Hurricane Sandy, he launched an initiative called CultureAID to "formalize the essential role artists and arts organizations played in relief efforts". He is working with city authorities on efforts to provide affordable housing for artists living in the city He said "every corner of this city needs to have art." He introduced a program to offer free access to member institutions using a municipal identification card. Finkelpearl served for 12 years as director of the Queens Museum from 2002 to 2014. While serving as director, he hired community organizers to emphasize the diversity of the immigrant population. He presided over the museum's $68 million renovation effort. He doubled the size of the Queens Museum and saw its budget grow from $2.3 million to $4.9 million. He served under mayor David Dinkins and Rudy Giuliani by running the city's Percent for Art program. He graduated from Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts in 1974, from Princeton University in 1979 and from Hunter College (MFA) in 1983.