Kim Cullen began working for New York Live Arts in 2014 as the Producer of the 2015 Live Ideas festival curated by Laurie Anderson. In July 2015, Cullen continued her relationship with Bill T. Jones and New York Live Arts as Interim Executive Director and became Executive Director & Chief Executive Officer in December of that year.
At the helm of New York Live Arts as Executive Director & CEO, Cullen charted a course for an institutional turnaround and the organization worked diligently to create a sustainable business model. Beginning July 2016, New York Live Arts has maintained a positive net annual operating income and the balance sheet has improved by approximately $9M. During this time, Cullen focused on the ability to use adaptive practices while staying true to the organizational mission and values, and engaging in experimental ways of thinking.
A native New Yorker, Cullen began her career in the arts in 1989 as a dance educator in the public school system of North Carolina. In 1995, she opened an intergenerational art space, Art In Motion, in NC called and began her exploration of movement-based community building. In 2001, Cullen returned to New York and became education director for Pascal Rioult, concurrently entering the Williamsburg community to develop a plan for the educational arm of Streb Lab for Action Mechanics (SLAM). In 2003, Cullen opened the school at SLAM as director of education. Under Kim’s leadership, the school grew into a vibrant community setting for adults, children, and circus artists, including free programming for pre-gentrification local youth. This initiative was an opportunity to give back to the neighborhood, build community, generate substantial earned and contributed revenue for the organization, and foster audience development.
In 2004, Cullen became Streb’s General Manager and in 2006 Producing Director. While there, Ms. Cullen produced the company’s touring shows, negotiated major commissions for Lincoln Center Festival, River to River Festival, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Park Avenue Armory. Cullen also negotiated and produced Surprises Streb: One Extraordinary Day, a co-commission by the Mayor of London and the London Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games for the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad in collaboration with the London International Festival of Theater (LIFT). During her tenure with Streb, the company secured financing from the City of New York to purchase its Williamsburg Brooklyn building, the annual budget nearly quadrupled, individual giving and earned revenue increased exponentially, the company obtained lead corporate sponsorship for artistic development, and was the subject of the feature film Born to Fly.
Throughout her many wonderful years in executive arts management, producing, and education, Kim remains dedicated to creating fostering live interaction and the creation of, as sociologist Ray Oldenburg coined “Great Good Places” or “Third Places,” where there is a creative exchange of ideas, where people can go to innovate, to share, to hang out, and to channel both their energy and creativity, through a real social network with positive, intergenerational connection.