A Blade of Grass is pleased to announce and welcome Lu Zhang as the organization’s new Executive Director. Zhang will officially assume the position on June 20, 2023.
“I’m thrilled to join A Blade of Grass and continue its legacy for nurturing the arts through socially engaged and thought-provoking work,” said Lu Zhang. “A core tenet of the organization is the focus on centering artists in dialogue with its mission and practice. I feel especially connected to the foundation of this work, and I look forward to working alongside the artist and arts worker-led board and staff to re-establish the organization as a leading resource and support system for socially engaged artists across the country.”
Zhang currently serves as the Initiatives Director of United States Artists (USA), a national arts funding organization headquartered in Chicago, where she launched a department dedicated to expanding holistic support for artists and their communities. Prior to joining USA, Zhang was Deputy Director of The Contemporary, a nomadic, non-collecting art museum in Baltimore, Maryland, where she provided strategic and operational oversight, and led resource initiatives for local artists.
In addition to her leadership roles, Zhang has spent her career building services for artists across the country through careful listening, deep research, and community building. Her extensive work across the arts and philanthropic sectors has helped mount national acclaim for initiatives like Artist Relief and Ford Foundation and Mellon Foundation’s Disability Futures.
“Lu has spent her career devoted to centering artists, and, in her work across initiatives like Disability Futures, she is reshaping the next generation of arts through a social lens,” said Margaret Morton, Ford Foundation’s Director of Creativity and Free Expression. “She is an active collaborator, participant, and thought leader for the creative sector, and we look forward to her bringing an informed advocacy and passion to this new role.”
A Blade of Grass is a hub for socially engaged artists and the evolution of their practices. As Executive Director, Zhang will not only rebuild the organization, but will also create much needed space for these artists by supplying them with resources and the opportunity to connect to each other, enabling the expansion and response to current and future social and political conditions. Alongside the organization’s artist and arts worker board of directors—Brett Cook, Michael Premo, Michael Quattrone, Gregory Sale, ashley sparks, and Diya Vij—she will spearhead much needed advocacy of socially engaged work, a severely underfunded inter/discipline, through collaborations and partnerships with other arts, social justice, and community leaders.
“As an artist and arts worker herself, Lu considers artists first and leads from the belief that artists are essential to societal transformation,” said A Blade of Grass’s Board of Directors in a statement. “Among her many skills is her capacity for deep listening and her commitment to learning and growth. Both growing her understanding of specific community needs and the systems that impact those communities. Her creative leadership and willingness to imagine new structures and systems in partnership with artists make her an excellent match for where we are as a board and organization right now.”
“Much like A Blade of Grass, artists, social justice, and community are at the center of Lu’s value system, adding to the list of reasons that she is the ideal candidate to lead this organization into the future,” added Interim Director Suzy Delvalle. “I look forward to seeing the direction that Lu takes this work and how its indelible mission continues to unfold.”