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Laura Zucker

Senior Associate, Los Angeles

Laura Zucker is a nationally recognized arts leader whose expertise spans grant making, cultural equity, cultural policy, capital project master planning, arts education, public art, cultural tourism, management, and funding strategies. Zucker is director of the Center for Business & Management of the Arts at Claremont Graduate University, where she teaches master’s-level classes in arts organization dynamics, cross-sector work in the arts, and cultural policy.

Zucker was executive director of the Los Angeles County Arts Commission for 25 years. During her tenure there (which is now a department based on her recommendation), she managed the civic art policy for the county and directed funding for more than 400 arts organizations. As a result, Zucker has an encyclopedic knowledge of the region’s arts organizations and artists.

Since she stepped down, she has continued her work in the arts sector through a broad range of projects as an arts management consultant on her own, and as a senior associate with AEA Consulting. Examples of recent projects in southern California 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.

Other major accomplishments during her tenure at the L.A. County Arts Commission 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 DiscoverLA.com; leading the $80 million revitalization of the Ford Theatres; and creating the nation’s largest undergraduate paid internship program in the arts, 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.

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. She received the Selina Roberts Ottum Award from Americans for the Arts, 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.

Prior to the Arts Commission, Zucker was executive director of the Ventura Arts Council and producing director of the Back Alley Theatre for 10 years. 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. Zucker received a BA from Barnard College and attended the Yale School of Drama.

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