Former Executive Director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
To Offer Customized Consulting Services for New York City-Based Dance Companies
Initiative is Made Possible by a Grant from
The Mertz Gilmore Foundation
The Joyce Theater Foundation, Inc. (Linda Shelton, Executive Director) announced today that Sharon Gersten Luckman, former Executive Director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, will partner with The Joyce Theater to provide practical and customized consulting services for New York City-based dance companies who perform at The Joyce. Through this initiative, made possible by a grant from The Mertz Gilmore Foundation, The Joyce Theater Foundation, Inc., with the expertise of Ms. Luckman, will provide guidance and coaching in the following areas: board development, fundraising, organizational structure and staffing, budgeting, negotiation strategies, and the dynamics of the artistic director/executive director relationship.
“I am thrilled with this opportunity to share what I’ve learned from my experience at Alvin Ailey with New York City dance companies,” Sharon Luckman said, “And I’m also delighted to be formally associated once again with Linda Shelton, who has been a cherished colleague since we worked together at the beginning of our careers.
Executive Director of The Joyce Theater Linda Shelton added, “Thanks to the generosity of The Mertz Gilmore Foundation, The Joyce will continue to support the dance community by offering Sharon Luckman’s expertise to valued companies. I know they will benefit from her professional insight.”
The Customized Consulting Services for New York City-based Dance Companies initiatives will address challenges confronting dance artists by strengthening the administration of small and mid-sized dance companies. In each of two years, Ms. Luckman and Ms. Shelton will invite 20 of the New York City-based dance companies who perform at The Joyce Theater to apply, with four companies selected to participate each year. By the end of the 6 month consultancy, a plan of action will be prescribed to improve and advance a company’s unique circumstances and goals and a grant will be awarded to each company to be used towards the implementation of new strategies.
Sharon Gersten Luckman served as the Executive Director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater from 1995 – 2012, achieving an impressive record of program development, marketing, promotion and branding, fundraising, financial stability and overall excellence in the field of arts management. Ms. Luckman began her career as a dance teacher and went on to direct New York’s 92nd Street YM/WHA Dance Center for eight years. She later became Development Director and then Executive Director of Twyla Tharp Dance Foundation and for three years was Executive Director of Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts. Throughout her career, she has received several awards including the Arts & Business Council's Encore Award for Arts Management Excellence, the Dance USA Trustees Award and The Alumni Achievement Award from the University of Wisconsin, the highest honor bestowed by the School of Education. Since retiring from Alvin Ailey, Ms. Luckman has worked as a consultant for several arts organizations including Israel's Batsheva Dance Company, Ballet Hispanico and Dance Theatre of Harlem.
THE MERTZ GILMORE FOUNDATION
The Mertz Gilmore Foundation is a private, independent grantmaking institution that supports and promotes vibrant communities, the performing arts and a sustainable environment. The Foundation uses a variety of philanthropic strategies to strengthen civic and cultural institutions in underserved communities of New York City and to address the climate crisis. Today, with assets of roughly $100 million, Mertz Gilmore continues a five-decade tradition of focused grantmaking on a small number of programs while maintaining relatively long-term commitments to its core areas of concern. The Foundation makes grants in three program areas: The Climate Change Solutions program aims to bring about substantial reductions in global warming pollution through sustainable policy and practice. The New York City Communities program promotes an equitable city of vibrant communities by supporting work in low-income neighborhoods. The New York City Dance program sustains a high level of activity and visibility for dance in the city, and cultivates a rich mix of artists and audiences.
ABOUT THE JOYCE THEATER FOUNDATION
The Joyce Theater Foundation, Inc. , a non-profit organization, has proudly served the dance community and its audiences for three decades. The founders, Cora Cahan and Eliot Feld, acquired and renovated the Elgin Theater in Chelsea, which opened as The Joyce Theater in 1982. The Joyce Theater is named in honor of Joyce Mertz, beloved daughter of LuEsther T. Mertz. It was LuEsther’s clear, undaunted vision and abundant generosity that made it imaginable and ultimately possible to build the theater. One of the only theaters built by dancers for dance, The Joyce Theater has provided an intimate and elegant home for more than 320 domestic and international companies. The Joyce has also commissioned more than 130 new dances since 1992. In 2009, The Joyce opened Dance Art New York (DANY) Studios to provide affordable studios for rehearsals, auditions, classes, and workshops for independent choreographers, non-profit dance companies, and the dance/theater communities. New York City public school students and teachers annually benefit from The Joyce’s Dance Education Program, and adult audiences get closer to dance through informative post-performance Curtain Chats. The Joyce Theater now features an annual season of approximately 48 weeks with over 340 performances for audiences in excess of 135,000.