New York, Sept. 28, 2017 -- John F. Calvelli, Executive Vice President of Public Affairs for the Wildlife Conservation Society, has been elected as Chair of The Cultural Institutions Group (CIG) in New York City. The CIG, comprised of 33 organizations, represents a broad spectrum of cultural endeavors, from art and natural history museums to historical societies, theaters, concert halls, performing arts centers, botanical gardens and zoos, all on city land.


Calvelli, who was elected as CIG Chair last night, has been a long-time leading advocate for cultural organizations – big and small in all five boroughs of New York City. He was the founder of the One Percent for Culture Campaign which recently merged with The New York City Arts Coalition. The new organization, named New Yorkers for Culture & Arts, advocates on behalf of all cultural organizations in the city.


Chairs of the CIG are elected for one-year terms. Calvelli is replacing Carl Goodman, Executive Director, Museum of the Moving Image.

“I am honored to follow the out-going CIG Chair, Carl Goodman, Executive Director, Museum of the Moving Image, and will continue his strong leadership ensuring that New York City remains one of the world’s most important cities for culture and the arts,” said Calvelli. “I look forward to working with Mayor de Blasio, the City Council, and the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs under the leadership of Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl. The mayor, Tom, and the City Council have strengthened our city’s cultural sector and the entire CIG is thankful for their support of the arts and culture throughout our city. The CIG will be pivotal in helping our city leaders advance the goals in CreateNYC, a groundbreaking comprehensive cultural plan that will ensure our great city continues to be a global culture capital. We will help ensure ‘a sustainable, inclusive, and equitable cultural sector’ throughout our city.”


Said Goodman, "We are fortunate that John has agreed to serve as Chair of the Cultural Institutions Group. Through his foundational role in New Yorkers for Culture & Arts, John has demonstrated an unparalleled commitment to ensuring that all New Yorkers have access to culture and that cultural organizations of all sizes, representing all disciplines, and located in all neighborhoods, have the opportunity to help cultural policy in the city."

Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem and a former CIG Chair, said, “I am thrilled John Calvelli will be serving as chair of the Cultural Institutions Group. The CIGs span every borough and reach countless New York City residents and visitors every year. I’m confident that under John’s leadership, the CIGs will continue the important work of ensuring every New Yorker has access to vibrant cultural experiences.”


Andrea Louie, Executive Director of the Asian American Arts Alliance and Co-Chair of New Yorkers for Culture & Arts, said: "All of us in the arts and cultural field look forward to working with John in the year to come as he leads the CIG during such a critical time for the sector and our city. We look forward to forging and strengthening meaningful partnerships among CIG organizations and the more than 1,000 arts and cultural organizations across New York City that are creating positive change in every neighborhood for the wellbeing of all New Yorkers."

Also serving in the CIG leadership are the Vice-Chairs for 2017-2018, representing all five NYC boroughs:

Manhattan: Whitney W. Donhauser, Museum of the City of New York

Staten Island: Ken Mitchell, Staten Island Zoo 

Queens: Taryn Sacramone, Queens Theatre 

Brooklyn: Stephanie Wilchfort, Brooklyn Children’s Museum 

Bronx: JV Cossaboom, New York Botanical Garden


The CIG is a voluntary organization that is comprised of 33 publicly-owned and privately operated non-profit organizations that are each located on city-owned property, and receive annual support from the city to help fund security, maintenance, administration and energy costs. In return for this support, these institutions maintain the public-private relationship by operating as publicly-owned facilities whose mandate is to provide cultural services that is accessible to all New Yorkers. Many CIG organizations offer free days, suggested admission prices, and discounted admission.


Over 9,000 CIG employees are NYC residents and positively impact the well-being of their neighborhoods. CIG organizations have a strong and direct impact on the city economy, spending more than $490M on local vendors on goods and services from throughout the five boroughs. Each year 2,500,000 children visit a CIG and 761,700 of those attend on-site programs. An additional 258,500 school children attend off-site programs offered in partnership with local community organizations.


Calvelli has been with WCS since 2000, leading the Public Affairs Division. WCS runs the Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, Queens Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo and New York Aquarium, and field conservation programs in nearly 60 nations and across the world’s ocean. Before he joined WCS, Calvelli had worked more than 15 years in public service. He had served as a senior staff person to U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel. Calvelli graduated from Fordham University and earned a law degree from Fordham Law School. Calvelli was a founder and is currently the Chair of the International Conservation Partnership. He serves on a number of boards, including NYC & and Company and the Public Affairs Council.



The CIG Members are:

American Museum of Natural History

Bronx County Historical Society
Bronx Museum of the Arts
Brooklyn Academy of Music
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Brooklyn Children's Museum
Brooklyn Museum
Carnegie Hall
New York City Ballet(David H. Koch Theatre)
El Museo del Barrio
Flushing Town Hall
Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc.
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Museum of Jewish Heritage
Museum of the City of New York
Museum of the Moving Image
New York Botanical Garden
New York City Center
New York Hall of Science
Public Theater
Queens Botanical Garden
Queens Museum
Queens Theatre
Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden
Staten Island Children's Museum
Staten Island Historical Society
Staten Island Museum
Staten Island Zoological Society
Studio Museum in Harlem
Wave Hill
Wildlife Conservation Society
-Bronx Zoo
-New York Aquarium