Former Brooklyn Academy of Music President Karen Brooks Hopkins Appointed Senior Fellow in Residence at The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

July 27, 2015, New York, NY—The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation today announced the appointment of Karen Brooks Hopkins as Senior Fellow in Residence, a newly created position.  Hopkins, the former president of the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), will serve as Senior Fellow in Residence from September 2015 through September 2016.

During her 36-year tenure at BAM, Hopkins transformed the organization into one of the world’s preeminent cultural institutions. She helped revitalize Brooklyn, playing an integral role in the creation of the Brooklyn Cultural District surrounding BAM. As a senior fellow, Hopkins will share her deep knowledge of leadership, fundraising, and arts administration in the cultural sector, write a book about the field, including her experiences at BAM, and work with Foundation staff to explore one of her core interests: the critical role of the arts as source of urban revitalization.

Read More in the New York Times

Robin Pogrebin, "BAM's Karen Brooks Hopkins Steps Into New Role," New York Times, July 26, 2015,

"We are delighted to partner with Karen in the coming year," said Earl Lewis, President of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.  "Her experience, insights, and interests nicely align with our goals and priorities, and we should prove a valuable setting for her as she finishes a long anticipated book."

"For many years, Karen has been deeply engaged with the Foundation’s priorities in arts and cultural heritage," said Mariët Westermann, Vice President of the Foundation. "As our first Senior Fellow in Residence, she will inform several of our strategic directions, including new work at the intersection of performing and visual arts and an increasing commitment to public arts and humanities, especially in underserved communities."

Stated Hopkins: "I am thrilled after my 36 years at BAM to have this unique opportunity to explore issues in the cultural field through this wonderful position at The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Mellon has never wavered in its commitment to the arts, and therefore is the perfect setting to initiate projects that hopefully raise the profile and value of our sector and its impact on humanity."

About Karen Brooks Hopkins

Karen Brooks Hopkins is the former president of the Brooklyn Academy of Music, where she worked since 1979. As president, Hopkins oversaw the Academy's 233 full-time employees and its facilities, including the 2100-seat Howard Gilman Opera House and 834-seat BAM Harvey Theater, the four-theater BAM Rose Cinemas, the BAMcafé, and the BAM Fisher building, which houses the 250-seat flexible Fishman Space.

Read More in the Wall Street Journal

Pia Catton, "Two Brooklyn Cultural Leaders Take on Different Roles," The Wall Street Journal, July 27, 2015,

Named to Mayor de Blasio's transition committee in November 2013, Hopkins has a history of public and cultural sector service. In May 2004, Hopkins concluded a two-year term as the Chair of The Cultural Institutions Group (CIG), which consists of 33 prominent New York City cultural institutions. In this capacity, she also served as a member of the Mayor's Cultural Affairs Advisory Commission, the board of NYC & Company, the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, and the Global Cultural Districts Network, and currently participates as a member of the Brooklyn Sports and Entertainment Advisory Board and The Onassis Foundation. Hopkins was an active member of the Performing Arts Center Consortium, a national association of performing arts centers, and served as its chair from 1994 to 1996. She was also a participant on the Advisory Committee of the Salzburg Seminar Project of Critical Issues for the Classical Performing Arts from 2000–2002 and a fellow of The Cap Gemini Ernst & Young Center for Business Innovation from 2001–2002. In 2005, Hopkins received the Encore Award in Arts Management Excellence from the Arts & Business Council of New York, and chaired the Hospitality and Tourism cluster of the Initiative for a Competitive Brooklyn. In 2006, she was elected by the New York State Legislature to the Board of Regents for a term that expired in 2011.

Most recent honors include being designated a "Woman of Achievement" by the professional association Women in Development in 2013 and named one of the "50 Most Powerful Women in New York" by Crain's. In 2014, she received the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce Award and was one of 10 esteemed business leaders appointed to the inaugural Crain's Hall of Fame. Hopkins was awarded honorary Doctorate degrees in 2015 from Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute and Long Island University. Among the many honors she received during her BAM tenure are her appointment as Chevalier de L’Ordre des arts et des Lettres by the Republic of France for her work supporting the French arts in the United States, as well as Commander of the Royal Order of the Polar Star in recognition of her role in solidifying ties between the performing arts communities of Sweden and the United States. Also in 2013 during her term as President, BAM received the National Medal of Arts, the highest award given to artists and arts organizations by the US government; the medal was presented to Hopkins by President Obama at a White House ceremony.

Hopkins was an adjunct professor for the Brooklyn College Program for Arts Administration for four years. Her widely read book, Successful Fundraising for Arts & Cultural Organizations, currently is available in a revised second edition through Greenwood Publishing. A graduate of the University of Maryland, she received her MFA from George Washington University in Washington, DC. Hopkins resides in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

About The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Founded in 1969, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation endeavors to strengthen, promote, and, where necessary, defend the contributions of the humanities and the arts to human flourishing and to the well-being of diverse and democratic societies by supporting exemplary institutions of higher education and culture as they renew and provide access to an invaluable heritage of ambitious, path-breaking work.

For more information, contact

Laura Washington