Richard Newirth has just been announced as the Managing Director of Cultural Services for the City of Vancouver. Newirth has been acting in this capacity since May 1, 2009 and prior to this appointment, he was Director of Public Art, Planning and Facilities Development for the City from 2007. He previously served for twelve years as Director of Cultural Affairs at the San Francisco Arts Commission, from 1995-2007.
Newirth's Vancouver accomplishments include the successful implementation of the City's Olympic and Paralympic Public Art Program which brought over 20 projects to fruition in 24 months. He has also overseen a streamlining of the cultural grants process, the initiation of a new program of capital grants for cultural facilities, and the start of a regulatory review to make it easier for arts organizations to navigate the permit processes in City Hall. Rich has stated, "I am thrilled to be taking on this exciting challenge at an extraordinary moment in Vancouver's cultural development. The success of the public art program and the Cultural Olympiad demonstrate that Vancouverites are beginning to recognize the incredible talent that exists here, and the
important role the arts play in defining the city to ourselves and the world.
Newirth sees strengthening the relationship between the City and the arts community as partners in the creation, production and dissemination of the diverse arts and cultural activities for which the city is known as one of his top priorities. He is a passionate believer in the role community arts can play in building and sustaining neighbourhoods, while recognizing that all parts of the arts ecology contribute to the City's vibrant arts scene. He is committed to having artists play a major role
in designing the built environment, and in the power of the arts to transform individual lives and the lives of all residents of Vancouver.
Newirth holds a BA from Brown University and an MBA from the Haas School of Business at U.C. Berkeley. He has just returned from visiting Seoul, where he was an invited guest of the Arts Council of Korea as one of three foreign experts asked to lecture on public art policy and practice. He has been awarded the Public Managerial Efficiency Award from the San Francisco Planning and Research Association and received the Director's Award from the California Arts Council for exemplary local arts agency leadership. He has frequently spoken throughout North America on arts and cultural topics including Cultural Tourism,
Public Art, and Artists in Community. In 2002, he was invited to be a guest of the U.S. consulate in St. Petersburg and lecture on arts management. He is a graduate of Leadership San Francisco, the Stanford University Executive Program for Non-Profit Leadership, and the Royal Roads University Leadership Development Program.