Council leaders in art institutions tend to be enthusiastic collectors and renowned philanthropists. But Performance Space New York, the East Village’s beloved alternative space, took a different direction when best-selling writer Roxanne Gay was elected chair of the board on Thursday.

Jay is an open commentator who deals with issues of identity and privilege. Her collection of articles for 2014 bad feminism Foot The New York Times List of bestsellers of 2017 Hunger: A Memoir of My Body It elicited wide recognition.

Although Jay is not widely associated with the art world, she has recently made forays as an art university. in a Artnet News to interview In April of this year, she revealed the work of Micheline Thomas, Jenny Holzer, Julie Mihrito, Claire Robert Irving and others from her collections. “I started discovering and acquiring items,” she said. “Now it is out of control.” NS art in americaJay also spoke to illustrator Jenny Savile about obesity and feminism.

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Gay has also been involved in Performance Space for some time, being a member of its board of directors for a year and a half. She was first associated with the organization through his wife Debbie Millman, who is also a member of the board of directors.

Jay said in a statement that as chair of the board, she intends to “continue to nurture outstanding experimental art” in order to “bring a variety of aesthetics to the performance space.” Jay also said she’s committed to diversifying the advocates for the performance space and “making sure we continue to make sure that people who have money aren’t the only ones who can sit on the board and make decisions – because that’s not a reflection of our real community.”

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Jenny Schlinska, executive director of Performance Space New York, described Jay as “someone who would rather make a change than talk endlessly about change.” Adding, “Her views are realistic and correct: she wants a more just and accessible culture, and she sees how we can be a part of creating that culture.”

While it would be unconventional to appoint Guy to a senior position in most art spaces, it is not a wholly unusual move for Performance Space, which has a history of engaging artists behind the scenes to change what an art organization might look like. In 2020, Performance Space New York handed the keys to a group of artists, giving them complete control over funding and programming.

The New York Performance Center also called for more artists to be added to the scoreboard. Nicole Eisenman, Jonathan Gonzalez and Jackson Bolez were among the artists joining the board in 2020. Ultimately, Schlenzka said she wants at least 50 percent of the New York Concert Board to be artists.

Jay replaces Susan Jess, who will serve as Vice President. After this step, Jess will continue to serve as Chairman of the Board Development Committee.