Mayor Eric Adams on Friday announced the appointment of former Brooklyn City Council Member Laurie Cumbo as commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA).
Cumbo is a lifelong Brooklynite, brings extensive related- experience to the position. Prior to her time in the City Council, Cumbo founded MoCADA [Museum of Contemporary African Diaspora Arts] in Brooklyn and previously worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the High Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Brooklyn Children’s Museum.
Additionally, Cumbo graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History from Spelman College – a noted HBCU [Historically Black College/University] school, and a Master of Arts degree in Visual Arts Administration from New York University.
“Every single moment in my life — from my first internship at the age of fifteen at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and founding Brooklyn’s first Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, to teaching at Pratt Institute and serving on the Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries, and International Intergroup Relations as a New York City councilmember — has led me to this incredible opportunity to further serve the city as the Commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs,” said Cumbo.
As commissioner, Cumbo will direct cultural policy for the city and oversee city funding for hundreds of nonprofit arts and cultural organizations across the five boroughs that deliver quality arts programming for New Yorkers. Additionally, she will advise on strategies for equitably supporting and strengthening the city’s diverse cultural community, which is essential to New York’s status as a global capital leader and makes major contributions to the city’s economic vitality and social well-being.
“As we work to revitalize our city, the Department of Cultural Affairs will play a vital role in our economic recovery — expanding access to the arts for outer-borough children and providing increased support for local artists,” said Adams. “Laurie Cumbo brings a breadth of experience in the arts, community advocacy, and city government to her role as commissioner. She will be instrumental in leading our efforts to strengthen New York City’s vibrant cultural life and connect New Yorkers to cultural experiences and institutions in all five boroughs.”
In thanking Adams for the appointment, Cumbo said she plans to center the arts in New York’s economic recovery and bolster the educational and cultural experiences of every New York City student from Pre-K to CUNY.
“I also believe we can help address public safety issues in New York City — taking a gun out of the hands of a young person and replacing it with an instrument, paintbrush, camera, or script will redirect the talent and passions of our youth towards building a better and more vibrant New York City,” she said.