Rebecca Robertson, President and Executive Producer
A visionary urban planner and activist, Rebecca Robertson has served as President and Executive Producer of Park Avenue Armory since 2006 and is spearheading the current $210-million revitalization of the historic Armory building and its transformation into a nonprofit cultural institution. Robertson has championed Park Avenue Armory’s mission of presenting visual and performing arts programs that are catalyzed by, and respond to, the Armory’s unconventional spaces. With its exuberant period rooms and immense Wade Thompson Drill Hall, the Armory fills a critical void in the cultural ecology of New York City, allowing the public to experience immersive and monumental works of art that cannot be mounted in traditional performance halls and museums.
Under Robertson’s leadership, the Armory has garnered critical and popular acclaim for presenting artistic programming not possible anywhere else in the City. In 2009, the Armory engaged artist Ernesto Neto for the inaugural exhibition in its annual visual art commissioning program, which invites artists to create works of epic scale for the Armory’s dramatic Wade Thompson Drill Hall. In December 2010, the Armory launched its first full season of artistic programming, comprising productions of visual art, dance, theater, and music that are conceived and performed “outside the box” of conventional theaters and museums. Robertson has also forged important collaborations with other major cultural institutions in New York City, including Art Production Fund, Creative Time, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and Lincoln Center Festival.
From 2000 through 2006, Ms. Robertson served as the Executive Director of the Lincoln Center Development Project, Inc. With her team, she developed a vision for the Lincoln Center campus and the revitalization of 65th Street as a transparent and accessible street for the arts. She oversaw the selection of the design team, design development, and the construction launch of the publicly acclaimed $700-million transformation. The project included the renovation of the North Plaza and the main plaza, a new entrance along Columbus Avenue, a new restaurant with a publicly accessible lawn on its roof, a new center for the Film Society, renovation and expansion of the Juilliard School and of Alice Tully Hall, a new pedestrian bridge, and new high-technology information systems.
From 1987 through 1997, Robertson led the complex $1.8-billion transformation of 42nd Street between Broadway and Eighth Avenue, which dramatically revitalized the notoriously run-down stretch of New York City. As president of The 42nd Street Development Project, Inc., Robertson and her team developed and implemented a new vision for the blighted 42nd Street block that returned the street to its fabled roots as a populist entertainment mecca, with restored theaters and new cinemas, restaurants, hotels, retail spaces, and major media office space. For her work on 42nd Street, Robertson was the recipient of the American Institute of Architects George S. Lewis Award and the American Planning Association Public Projects Award.
Robertson also worked for The Shubert Organization, New York’s largest Broadway theater owner, where she expanded their real estate portfolio and developed their first off-Broadway Theater. She has also served as a studio critic/lecturer at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design.