Board of Directors

  • By · June 29th, 2010


Linda Earle July 2010LINDA EARLE has a long track record of experience in visual, performing and media arts having worked as an administrator, grant-maker, and advocate for artists and culture. She is currently the executive director of the New York Arts Program, a semester long off-campus study program for undergraduates in the visual, performing and media arts, writing and journalism. Before joining NYAP, she served as Executive Director of Programs for the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, one of the nation’s leading organizations for emerging visual artists. During her tenure as Senior Program Director for the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), Earle established the multi-disciplinary Individual Artists Program in 1984, and later served as Director of the Museum/Visual Arts and Theatre programs. Before joining NYSCA, she worked in production and held managerial positions in theatre and independent film and taught Film and Cultural Theory at Barnard, Hunter, and at Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School of the Arts. Earle has lectured widely on issues pertinent to individual artists and arts advocacy and has been a keynote speaker at national forums on the arts. She has served on many advisory, awards, and admissions panels, including the Pew Foundation, the NEA, NEH, and New Dramatists, and in leadership positions on numerous arts and community non-profit Boards, including the Board of Governors of Colby College Museum. As a writer, Earle has participated in professional residency programs at Hedgebrook and the Writers’ Room. She received her BA in Film Studies from Hampshire College and an MFA in Film from Columbia University, where she also studied painting, art history, and architectural history.

Vice President

*JOANNA MERLIN, a student of Michael Chekhov, is an actor, teacher and former casting director for Harold Prince, Bernardo Bertolucci and James Ivory.  She is a faculty member in NYU’s Graduate Acting program and, as an actor, made her Broadway debut opposite Laurence Olivier in Anouilh’s Becket and created the role of Tzeitel in Fiddler on the Roof. She has a recurring part on Law and Order, SVU as Judge Lena Petrovsky. Her film roles include: Sarah’s Key (2011 release),The Wackness, Invasion, City of Angels, Class Action, Mystic Pizza, Fame, Killing Fields and The Ten Commandments. She is a co-founder of the Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts, was a member of the Tony Awards Nominating Committee and is the President of the Michael Chekhov Association. She produced a prize-winning one-woman film, Beautiful Hills of Brooklyn, in which she appears. Her book, Auditioning: An Actor-Friendly Guide is in its 10th printing.


*BRIAN R. STEINWURTZEL is a principal of the Newmark Holding’s Portfolio that owns and operates approximately nine million square feet of real estate in the United States. The portfolio includes properties such as the Flatiron Building, 515 Madison Avenue, 10 Astor Place, 520 Eighth Avenue, 230 Fifth Avenue, The Film Center and the Actors’ Equity Building. Mr. Steinwurtzel’s primary responsibilities at Newmark Knight Frank are centered on leasing, acquisitions and project management. Over the last eight years, Mr. Steinwurtzel and his partners have achieved an average occupancy rate in excess of 98%. Noteworthy recent projects include the acquisition of the eight-acre Long Wharf portfolio leased by Yale University and Yale New Haven Hospital, the 124-acre Bethlehem Steel Works site where Newmark Holdings partnered with Las Vegas Sands to build the Bethlehem Sands casino, the formation, financing and construction of a 24-lane bowling alley in Harlem as well as the renovation, management and full lease-up of the Actors’ Equity Building in Times Square. Prior to joining Newmark, Mr. Steinwurtzel was an Equity research analyst for Triene Inc., a Goldman Sachs Ventures’ firm. Mr. Steinwurtzel received his Masters in Business Administration from Columbia Business School and his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Washington University.

KENT GASH is the founding Director of NYU Tisch School of the Arts’ New Studio on Broadway: Music Theatre and Acting, where he has directed Assassins and The Who’s Tommy. With Broadway veteran Walter Marks, Mr. Gash is co-author and director of the new musical, Langston in Harlem, whose off-off Broadway production won Four 2010 Audelco Awards including Best Musical. New York productions include Broke-ology at the Julliard School, the critically acclaimed Off Broadway premiere of Miss Ever’s Boys for the Melting Pot Theatre Co., the world premiere musical Call The Children Home for Primary Stages, the York Theatre concert presentation of Duke Ellington’s Beggar’s Holiday and the Off-Broadway revival of Samm-Art William’s Home. Mr. Gash is the former Associate Artistic Director of The Alliance Theatre at the Woodruff, recipient of the 2007 Tony Award for excellence in the American Regional Theatre. Mr. Gash is a former board member of National Alliance for Musical Theatre and has served on panels for National Endowment for the Arts, Theatre Communications Group and the Princess Grace Foundation.   Mr. Gash has taught Master Classes in Acting and Musical Theatre Performance for the National Theatre of Scotland, University of California at Los Angeles, American Conservatory Theatre, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Spelman College, Morehouse College, Fordham University, Carnegie-Mellon University and Disney Theatrical. He is a graduate of Carnegie-Mellon University, School of Drama with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting and of the University of California’s School of Theatre Film and Television with a Master’s Degree in Directing for the Theatre and Television.

ABEL LOPEZ is associate producing director of GALA Hispanic Theatre, and treasurer of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters. He is a former chair of the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and immediate past chair of the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture (NALAC). He is a past president of the Helen Hayes Awards, the Performing Arts Alliance, Leadership Washington, the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, and Theater Communications Group. Abel is also past chair of the Creative Communities Initiative of the Community Foundation of the National Capital Region. Abel is a member of the Boards of Directors of the Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts, NALAC, In Series, and Black Women Playwrights Group. He is a member of The Kennedy Center Community board, Latino Advisory Board of the Museum of American History of the Smithsonian Institution, and Advisory Committee of The Playwrights Forum. He has directed productions at GALA, Horizons Theatre, DC Arts Center, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Source Theater, and In Series in Washington, DC, as well as many other theaters across the nation. His productions have also been presented in Venezuela, El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Cuba. In 1991, Abel was named a Washingtonian of the Year.

*indicates member of the Executive Committee

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