Posts tagged with "Gina Pollara":

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The City Club of New York weighs in on dismissal of MAS President Gina Pollara

Just before MAS's Board of Directors recently dismissed of President Gina Pollara, The City Club of New York, which describes its members as "long time members and supporters of MAS," urged the organization to defer any action and consider alternatives. The City Club has just issued a second statement:
Dear Members and Friends, Our advocacy has usually related to actions of the City or State. We detoured briefly, and to a limited extent, at the end of December to address a critical action being taken by the Municipal Art Society. For the fourth time in approximately six years, the MAS is changing leadership. This time, at a meeting called for December 29 on a week’s notice, the MAS board approved hiring a new President to replace Gina Pollara. Gina had assumed that position in early 2016. She brought to the job her professional expertise as an architect, and recent administrative experience as executive director of the Roosevelt Memorial on Roosevelt Island. More than that, she seized upon MAS’s apparently recovered will to engage in its traditional advocacy function. She conducted a series of public policy forums.  She worked to promote better governance of privately owned public spaces.  She spoke out in support of the City Club’s position on Pier 55. She participated in meetings of the City Club’s Urban Design Committee. And we participated with her on MAS projects. In short, she generated a sense of institutional revival and a spirit of cooperation that the City Club warmly welcomed. The day before the MAS acted, the City Club took the unusual step—one we would not regard as a precedent to be followed routinely—of emailing the entire MAS board to express our concern over its impending action to remove Gina. We felt that precipitate and ill-considered action would set back the MAS’s ability to continue the progress that it had recently begun. In an announcement the MAS board published almost immediately after its meeting, the board said that it had hired Elizabeth Goldstein and described Ms. Goldstein‘s estimable credentials especially in the field of park conservation. We certainly wish her well. While we have appreciated Gina personally as a shining light in the MAS’s recent history, our motivation in writing to the MAS board was institutional. The MAS has a long and highly productive history and we, like the public in general, have a big stake in the MAS’s future. Two articles of The Architect’s Newspaper can be found here:
https://archpaper.com/2016/12/pollara-fired-mas/ https://archpaper.com/2016/12/city-club-responds-mas-boards-special-leadership-meeting/These contain verbatim transcripts of our letter to the MAS board, and of the board’s announcement. The New York Times covered the action in an article on January 7 available at http://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/06/arts/design/municipal-art-society-abruptly-ousts-its-president.htmlBest wishes for the new year.
Michael Michael S. Gruen President The City Club of New York 249 West 34th Street, #401-402 New York, NY 10001 mgruen@michaelgruen.net
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Gina Pollara out at the MAS

The Board of Directors of the Municipal Art Society of New York (MAS) has apparently ignored the pleas of many of its members and fired its president Gina Pollara. The Architect’s Newspaper (AN) reported on the board’s decision to call a special meeting over this holiday week to consider replacing Pollara. AN also reported on a parallel campaign organized by the MAS's dues-paying members that sought to convene a special meeting in order to discuss these possible actions. Furthermore, a letter issued by The City Club of New York directed at the Board President Frederick Iseman asked MAS to “defer any action with regard to president Gina Pollara [as] such a decision would be a disservice to the citizens of New York and to MAS itself.”   With its decision today, the MAS board has ignored these pleas. Instead, the MAS board issued a statement on its website announcing that Elizabeth Goldstein will become its new president in February. The City Club’s letter further asked that the board consider “an independent review of [its] governance and management structure, accepting one of the following alternatives to pursue: an appointment of a balanced committee of emeritus directors, retention of an outside professional consultant (such as McKinsey), and consultation with an experienced non-profit organization professional. Today's press release by the MAS board makes no mention of any of these requests by the City Club or Pollara and focuses only on the naming of a new president. Here is a full transcript of today’s MAS statement:
Dear Friends of MAS, We want to share some important information about the future of this extraordinary organization and its essential role fighting for the responsible growth of New York City. The Board believes it is fundamentally important that we continue to strengthen MAS’ position as a central player in shaping this city’s future. MAS will continue to be an advocate for all those who love New York and understand that the pursuit of great design, preservation and livability requires both vigilance and action. Elizabeth Goldstein, nationally-known as a tenacious and remarkably effective advocate for parks, open spaces and historic preservation with deep roots here in New York, will become the next president of MAS. Elizabeth will assume her new role in February, following a brief transition period that will be overseen by our CFO, Bob Libbey. Elizabeth’s appointment was approved at a meeting of current board members and emeriti yesterday. Elizabeth grew up in the Soundview neighborhood in the Bronx and was a central player in New York’s parks, recreation and historic preservation sector for more than a decade. She served as director of planning for the City’s Department of Parks and Recreation, and later as New York City regional director of the State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, where she oversaw the start-up of Riverbank State Park and served on the panel that developed the public-private land use plan for Hudson River Park. Following a move to the West Coast, for the last 12 years Elizabeth has been the president of the California State Parks Foundation (CSPF), an independent organization dedicated to protecting, enhancing and advocating for California’s 279 state parks. The Foundation is tasked with building awareness about the parks system and its needs—with special focus on legislative and policy advocacy—and raising private funds for state parks projects in partnership with non-profit organizations that support the system. Elizabeth raised nearly $20 million for key capital projects, lobbied the California legislature to secure $90 million in deferred maintenance funding, and built and led coalitions that prevented closures of state parks and turned back incursions like energy lines and toll roads into state parks. Under her leadership, the Foundation dramatically increased its membership and doubled its operating budget. Prior to her role at CSPF, Elizabeth managed San Francisco’s 5,400-acre recreation and park system and initiated and executed a $400 million capital plan. That followed a tenure as the director of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Western Regional Office, where she managed National Trust programs in California, in addition to eight other states and two U.S. territories. The Board believes Elizabeth’s extensive experience as a passionate and forceful advocate, as well as a results-oriented executive and successful fund-raiser, make her an exceptional choice to lead MAS forward. We are very proud of the work the MAS staff has done over the past year to position MAS for success in its upcoming 125th anniversary year and beyond. As we look ahead to the future, we want to take the opportunity on behalf of the Board to thank you for your ongoing support of MAS and its advocacy on behalf of all New Yorkers, working to ensure a vital future for this great city. We could not do this important work without you. All the best in the New Year. On behalf of the Board of Trustees of The Municipal Art Society of New York, Frederick Iseman, Chairman of the Board Christy MacLear, Chair, Executive Committee of the Board
 
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City Club responds to MAS board’s special leadership meeting

This is usually a slow week for journalism but the tussle at the The Municipal Art Society of New York over the fate of its President Gina Pollara is heating up. We reported two days ago that the board of directors of the Society were meeting on Thursday, December 29 to discuss relieving Pollara of her position, but now there seems to be push back against the board's move. A call for a meeting of MAS membership to discuss the situation is being organized and today the City Club of New York, another long-time “good government” organization has issued a public letter to the MAS Board. It calls for the board to “defer any action with regard to Gina Pollara at your special board meeting” as it would be an “unhappy step backward and a display of internal governance disarray at MAS.” Here is a full transcript of the City Club letter signed by Michael Gruen: The original letter can be seen here. December 27, 2016 Mr. Frederick Iseman Chairman, Municipal Art Society Mr. Iseman: The City Club of New York is troubled to learn that the Municipal Art Society is considering the dismissal of its president, Gina Pollara. As long time members and supporters of MAS, we have enjoyed the fresh spirit she has brought to the organization’s work. She has displayed a creative, focused, and energetic approach to her position, and has inserted MAS into the public discourse on the crucial issues facing our city. As a result, the organization has resumed its rightful position as a leading voice in issues of design, planning, historic preservation, and the public realm. We urge you to defer any action with regard to President Gina Pollara at your special board meeting scheduled for December 29, 2016. To move forward with this action would be an unhappy step backward and a display of internal governance disarray at MAS. Such a decision would be a disservice to the citizens of New York and to MAS itself. With all due deference, we suggest you consider an independent review of governance and management structure, accepting one of the following alternatives to pursue:      a. Appointment of a balanced committee of emeritus directors.       b. Retention of an outside professional consultant (such as McKinsey).      c. Consultation with an experienced non-profit organization professional. We do understand it is unusual for one organization to involve itself in the internal affairs of another, but we believe the importance of MAS to the city and the negative impact of what is being proposed are of such magnitude as to override the usual organizational niceties. A strong, united, focused, and forceful MAS, exercising its appropriate leadership role in city affairs, is essential. And that public purpose is too important to be subjected to a rushed holiday week telephonic process. Ms. Pollara deserves better. MAS deserves better. The City of New York deserves better. Yours truly, Michael Gruen, President
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Municipal Art Society’s “Public Assets” summit explores who truly owns public space

This year's Municipal Art Society Public Assets summit (taking place November 15) focuses on the most important issue facing New York City in 2016: Who owns and controls public space? But unlike past MAS summits, which were little more than sound bites on the glory of the city and pay-to-play advertorials, this one begins with a provocative and on-point statement:
A healthy, dynamic, and inclusive city depends on the protection and promotion of what is collectively ours—parks, open space, libraries, museums, streetscapes, infrastructure, views, and other intangible resources—upon which our quality of life depends. We will be asking the questions: “What are public assets? Why do they matter? Who decides?”
The day-long event, which is open to all MAS members, features several of the city’s most important urban thinkers including Adam Gopnik, Michael Sorkin, Fran Lebowitz, architecture professor Diane Lewis, and many more. This the first major initiative of the Society’s new director Gina Pollara and as she strives to make it once again a relevant public voice for the city.
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Gina Pollara named President of the Municipal Art Society of New York

Architect, author, and urban designer Gina Pollara, has been appointed President of The Municipal Art Society (MAS). Frederick Iseman, Chairman of the MAS Board of Directors announced that the move will take effect immediately. Pollara is best known for overseeing construction of Louis Kahn's memorial to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, when she was executive director of Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park. The project was completed in October 2012, although it lay dormant for decades after Kahn's death in 1974. “We are deeply pleased to name Gina Pollara our next President after a long and thorough hunt for a suitable leader,” said Iseman. “She is dynamic, our issues run through her veins, she is respected throughout the city as a doer, an entrepreneur, and as a force for the improvement of civic life.  She is also known for being effective, exigent, hell-bent on results and a lot of fun to work with.  I look forward to working with her on the many challenges that all five boroughs of this city face.  She will be a fiery spark-plug working with the capable members of our board.” “I’m profoundly honored to join The Municipal Art Society, an organization that continues to be one of the most important civic voices in the city that advocates for design and planning excellence.  I am particularly excited to be leading MAS as it prepares to celebrate its 125th anniversary in 2018,” Pollara said. “I look forward to working with our current partners and to developing new alliances as MAS continues to advance so many of the issues that are vital to the city’s future.”
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City College’s Spitzer School of Architecture to Broadcast Lectures Online

One of the most important components of any architecture school is its semester-long lecture series. It's a chance for schools to bring in voices from outside their building and communicate to students a broad range of approaches and ideas percolating in the culture and profession. Many schools send out posters of these lectures to other schools across the country to announce their programing and these are posted on hallway walls for all to see even if they are thousands of miles away on another coast. But now City College of New York's Spitzer School of Architecture has taken the next step and is simulcasting its lectures live online for the public to view. Old lectures will be archived and viewable any time. This semester City College is focusing its lectures on Rethinking Kahn and have scheduled a distinguished line up of Louis Kahn scholars including Stanislaus von Moos this Thursday, February 28 speaking on Kahn’s urban projects. On March 7, Ken Frampton will be speaking on monumentality in Kahn’s work. March 21 will feature Gina Pollara who will lecture on New York's FDR Memorial on Roosevelt Island and its construction. After that Robert Twombley and William J.R. Curtis will lecture. On the Friday after William Curtis’ lecture, there will be a discussion between William Curtis and George Ranalli and Rethinking Kahn.