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Chicago, Illinois
Interview Description:

Biography |

Interview Date: 12/8/2017

Arts administrator Patricia Cruz was born on January 1, 1947 in Chicago, Illinois to Nelson Marshall and Myrtle Smith. She graduated from Hirsch High School in Chicago, Illinois and attended Columbia College in Chicago and Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois where she studied theater. Cruz went on to graduate from the Goodman School of Theater.

Cruz worked as an actress and theater producer in Chicago, where she met her husband, artist Emilio Cruz. After the couple moved to New York City, Cruz accepted a position as deputy director for programs at the Studio Museum in Harlem. In 1998, Cruz accepted a position as executive director at Aaron Davis Hall Inc., an arts non-profit in Harlem that commissioned, staged, and supported emerging artists. Her responsibilities included overseeing programing, administrative management, and fundraising. Cruz secured over $2 million in endowment funds for Aaron Davis Hall Inc., which moved into a $26 million facility called ‘The Gatehouse which was rebranded as Harlem Stage/Aaron Davis Hall Inc. in 2006 and received a Lucy Moses Award for preservation and formally served as an aqueduct for New York City. In addition, Cruz also expanded programming at Harlem Stage, introducing Uptown Nights, and Harlem Slide and commissioned numerous artists including Tania Leon, Sekou Sundiata, Roger Guenveur Smith, and Bill T. Jones while serving over 10,000 students annually and collaborating with a number of other nonprofits including the Classical Theater of Harlem, the Black Documentary Collective, the Black Rock Coalition, and the Columbia Harlem Jazz Project.

Cruz served as a board member of the Urban Assembly and was a member of the CalArts board of overseers. She formerly served on the boards of the Andy Warhol Foundation and was the president of The New York Foundation for the Arts. In 2014, Cruz won the Charles Dawson Award for programmatic excellence and sustained achievement in programming from the Association of Performing Arts Presenters.

Patricia Cruz was interviewed by TheHistoryMakers on December 8, 2017.

Speaker Bureau Notes: