Janet Langsam is the CEO of ArtsWestchester, formerly Westchester Arts Council, the largest private, not-for-profit art service organization in New York State. During her tenure, Ms. Langsam has made the arts more visible, diverse and accessible for all, while offering financial and marketing support to emerging arts groups, cultural institutions and grassroots activities throughout Westchester County.
Among her many achievements, Ms. Langsam spearheaded the purchase and renovation of an abandoned nine-story historical bank building in the heart of downtown White Plains, NY, which now serves as ArtsWestchester’s headquarters, as well as a cultural resource for the entire County. Ms. Langsam also led a major rebranding initiative in which the Westchester Arts Council changed its name to ArtsWestchester.
A former journalist with a fine arts background, Ms. Langsam previously served as a District Manager, or community organizer, in New York City’s Lindsay Administration. “What I learned from that experience,” she says, “is the importance of connecting with communities at all levels.” She went on to the post of First Deputy Commissioner of Cultural Affairs under Mayor Abraham Beame and helped to establish the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs as a separate and distinct city agency. During the Koch administration, Ms. Langsam was successful in utilizing federal stimulus funds through the CDBG and CETA to help cultural organizations weather the city’s fiscal crisis. She also pioneered the conversion of city-owned vacant properties to cultural sites and artist housing.
Before coming to Westchester in 1991, Ms. Langsam served as President and CEO of the Boston Center for the Arts, a complex of historic buildings converted to cultural spaces for artists and organizations, including the Boston Ballet. She is also a founder of the Queens Museum and a recipient of the Americans for the Arts Michael Newton Award.