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Laura Zucker

Senior Associate, Los Angeles

Laura Zucker is a nationally recognized arts leader whose expertise spans grants making, cultural equity, cultural policy, capital project master planning, arts education, public art, cultural tourism, and funding strategies. Ms. Zucker was executive director of the Los Angeles County Arts Commission from 1992-2017. Since she’s stepped down, she has continued her work in the arts sector through a broad range of projects as an arts management consultant. Examples of recent projects include completing strategic plans for Fulcrum Arts and the Women’s Center for Creative Work; leading a team to assess the feasibility of an outdoor amphitheater for the City of Santa Clarita, facilitating retreats for Californians for the Arts and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; guiding a book on the history of philanthropy in Los Angeles, and executive coaching. Ms. Zucker is also Interim Head of the Masters in Arts Management program at Claremont Graduate University, where she teaches master classes in cross sector work in the arts and cultural policy, and where she served as program director from 2008-2014.

During her tenure at the LA County Arts Commission, now a department based on her recommendation, she managed the civic art policy for the county and directed the funding for more than 400 arts organizations, so has an encyclopedic knowledge of the region’s arts organizations and artists. Major accomplishments during her tenure include implementing the regional initiative to restore arts education to 81 public school districts; completing a strategic plan for Cultural Equity and Inclusion that resulted in actionable recommendations; heading the California Cultural Tourism Initiative and shaping the regional cultural calendar on; leading the revitalization of the Ford Theatres; and creating the largest paid internship program in the arts in the country for undergraduates in conjunction with the Getty Trust.  In her capacity as executive producer of the Emmy® Award winning Holiday Celebration, the Ford Theatres and the county’s free concerts program, she worked extensively with diverse grassroots arts organizations throughout the region.

Prior to the Arts Commission, Ms. Zucker was executive director of the Ventura Arts Council and producing director of the Back Alley Theatre. During that time, she served as Chair of the Associated Theatres of Los Angeles. She consulted with the National Endowment for the Arts and developed operational plans for many theatres, including the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara and the Keck Theatre at Occidental College.

She is on the board of the Music Man Foundation, which grants $3 million annually for music education and music therapy. She has served on the boards of Grantmakers in the Arts, the Association of Arts Administration Educators, ARTS Inc., and the Trusteeship, the Southern California Chapter of the International Women's Forum. She was a founding board member of Arts for LA, which created an annual fellowship in her honor: the Laura Zucker Cultural Policy Fellowship. She is also a member of the Los Angeles Coalition for Jobs and the Economy. In 2017 Americans for the Arts designated her for the Selina Roberts Ottum Award, which recognizes an individual working in arts management who has made a meaningful contribution to his or her local community and who exemplifies extraordinary leadership qualities. She received a B.A. from Barnard College and attended the Yale School of Drama.