The Brooklyn Arts Council’s new executive director is ready to put local artists in the spotlight.
“In this leadership role, I am eager to catalyze, nurture and spotlight Brooklyn’s already thriving creative ecosystem. Local artists have made Brooklyn a global cultural epicenter, but they still lack adequate support and recognition for their work in the borough,” said Rasu Jilani.
For over 50 years, the BAC has been the borough’s leading nonprofit organization supporting artists and cultural groups. On March 13, the BAC’s board of directors named Jilani as the organization’s new executive director.
“We are thrilled to have Rasu as our new leader,” said board chair Toni Yuille Williams. “His experience, commitment and passion for Brooklyn’s creative economy will help to build and support this burgeoning sector. We look forward to his fresh perspective and novel ideas that will transform BAC into a model 21st century council serving the many artists and creatives that live in this great borough.”
In his new role, Jilani will work to expand the BAC’s network of artists, arts organizations and programs. He will be poised to lead the council's vision of generating a self-sustaining creative community that fosters connectedness and engagement in society.
“Artists are the driving force behind our authentic and connected community, and we must prioritize their livelihoods and creative practice, rather than exploiting their culture for our benefit,” Jilani said. “Therefore, it is imperative that BAC remains aware of the ever-changing cultural landscape and actively contributes to its development by finding innovative ways to support and facilitate the circulation of culture.”
About Rasu Jilani
A native New Yorker of Caribbean heritage, Jilani brings more than 15 years of experience advocating for the Brooklyn cultural and creative community to the organization.
Most recently, he applied his skills as the Cultural Network Curator at Lambent Foundation, where he fostered collaboration among grant partners in New York City, New Orleans and Nairobi, Kenya.
“Rasu embodies the qualities we should all seek in our cultural leaders: radical vision, care for community, courage to pursue the uncomfortable and drive to reimagine our world. I have learned so much from Rasu over the years as a peer, colleague, and friend, and I look forward to collaboratively advancing our shared commitment to ensuring that support and resources for artists who dedicate their practice to community are limitless,” said executive director of the Laundromat Project, Ayesha Williams.
Prior to Lambent, Jilani served as director of recruitment and community engagement for the New Museum’s art and tech incubator, NEW Inc.
In this role, he built a professional network of artists into a cohesive workspace that reflects New York’s diverse and multi-faceted artists.
“He is an empathetic leader; a tender warrior whose magnetic wholesomeness is virtually impossible to match or rival; formed and molded with real experience, unwavering commitment, and boundless compassion for Brooklyn’s creative economy as dictated by the courageous and comprehensive lens through which he sees the world – especially the distinctive world of Brooklyn,” said Brooklyn-based artist Nathaniel Mary Quinn.
Jilani is also a reputable facilitator in the cultural sector, the founder of Coup d’état BROOKLYN and Coup d’état Arts. He was also a producer for Afropunk. For additional information, click here.