(NEW YORK, NY – March 12, 2021)The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation today announced the appointment of renowned arts advocate Deana Haggag as Program Officer in its Arts and Culture program area, effective May 17, 2021. As part of her role, Haggag will help shape grantmaking initiatives and develop innovative projects to support a diverse group of artists and cultural institutions across the country. Her work will primarily focus on artists and organizations working outside traditional boundaries and institutional walls.
Haggag joins the Foundation after her four-year tenure as president and CEO of United States Artists, a Chicago-based organization that offers fellowships to artists across multiple disciplines.
“For years, Deana has been a passionate advocate for artists and the essential role that they play in our society, and we are thrilled to have such a dynamic and creative leader joining the Mellon Foundation,” said Elizabeth Alexander, President of the Mellon Foundation. “After working in partnership with Deana on critical artist funding initiatives in recent years, it is clear that she is committed to transforming the future of the arts with an eye towards equity, and we look forward to her bringing her singular talents to our Arts and Culture program area.”
With more than ten years’ experience in the arts and nonprofit leadership, Haggag has established herself as an influential voice in the arts and philanthropy. During her time at United States Artists, she championed unrestricted advocacy initiatives for artists and spearheaded Artist Relief—a nearly $25 million effort to support artists experiencing financial emergencies, particularly those disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Her fearless leadership of economic recovery efforts for the arts embodies the Mellon Foundation’s mission to provide critical resources to the arts and humanities sectors to promote equity and creativity.
“Given her deep and years-long commitment to this work, Deana brings a wealth of experience working with individual artists that will enrich the Foundation’s efforts to provide artists with the support they need,” said Emil J. Kang, Mellon Foundation Program Director for Arts and Culture. “Her insight will be invaluable as we create scaffolding for artists and practitioners to transcend disciplines, media, and institutions and as they explore new economic paradigms and institutional models.”
“There simply is no cultural sector in this nation without artists. Over the course of my career, I have had the exceptional privilege of learning about the needs of our country’s artists and working with incredible partners to meet those needs with the utmost duty of care,” said Haggag. “In these challenging times, I truly believe that we must commit to going further together rather than going faster alone. So, I am thrilled and deeply humbled to join visionary leaders like Elizabeth Alexander and Emil Kang and the entire team at Mellon to continue advocating fiercely for our beloved artist community.”
Haggag received her MFA in Curatorial Practice from the Maryland Institute College of Art and a BA from Rutgers University in art history and philosophy. In addition to holding leadership roles, Haggag lectures widely, and has taught at institutions such as Johns Hopkins University and Towson University. She is on the board of trustees of the Detroit Institute of Arts and The Underground Museum. She is based in Brooklyn, New York.
About The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is the nation’s largest supporter of the arts and humanities. Since 1969, the Foundation has been guided by its core belief that the humanities and arts are essential to human understanding. The Foundation believes that the arts and humanities are where we express our complex humanity, and that everyone deserves the beauty, transcendence, and freedom that can be found there. Through our grants, we seek to build just communities enriched by meaning and empowered by critical thinking, where ideas and imagination can thrive.