Key Roles for New Leadership of Artist-Endowed Foundations - Miami Law and Aspen Institute Launch Seminar


Professor Stephen Urice and Christine Vincent/photo courtesy of Scott Rudd

Miami Law’s Professor Stephen Urice and Christine Vincent of The Aspen Institute Artist-Endowed Foundations Initiative (AEFI) and adjunct faculty member, recently co-directed  the inaugural edition of an intensive professional development program for new directors and board members of artist-endowed foundations. The Seminar on Strategy for New Artist-Endowed Foundation Leaders took place June 6th through the 10th in New York City, hosted by the Joan Mitchell, Isamu Noguchi, Helen Frankenthaler, Dedalus, and Roy Lichtenstein Foundations.

The annual Seminar is based on findings of AEFI’s National Study of Artist-Endowed Foundations and subsequent research publications, and focuses specifically on the strategic concerns of leaders entering the field. Site visits and sessions with seasoned foundation leaders are central to the curriculum. By building the capacity of these new leaders, the Seminar advances AEFI’s mission to strengthen the charitable impact of the emerging artist-endowed foundation field.

The Seminar brought together individuals who are new to the policy-setting and leadership responsibilities for artist-endowed foundations—directors, officers, trustees, board members, senior staff —and educated them on the characteristics of these distinctive organizations. Chief among these characteristics are foundations’ complex business models, diverse philanthropic practices, influential art historical role, and governance and stewardship requirements.

“In the past decade, we have been able to identify effective practices in key areas,” said Urice, who is also the Arts Law track advisor for the School’s LL.M. in Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law.

“For example, foundations are often asked to authenticate valuable works. Providing one-on-one authentication for individual private collectors exposes a foundation to enormous risks and potential legal costs.  Incorporating authentication determinations in the context of scholarly research published to benefit the public, such as catalogues raisonnés, serves foundations’ charitable purposes more appropriately and prudently.”

According to Vincent, “AEFI’s research publications are the go-to resources for professionals entering this field as well as for established leaders who wish to get up to speed on new issues. There has been an increasing demand for a focused professional development opportunity that will translate book learning to a more integrated educational experience and the Seminar was created to do just that.”

The Seminar’s agenda, which spanned five full-days, explored a variety of topics including legacy stewardship, governance, economic sustainability, cultural asset stewardship, philanthropic impact, foundation operation, risk management, and communications. Information and photos of the Seminar may be viewed at