Denes takes reins at board
of Westbeth Artists Housing
By Albert Amateau
The Westbeth board of directors on May 28 elected Ronni Denes as president of the board. Denes, external affairs vice present of The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, has been a member of the Westbeth board since 2007.
She replaces Arnold Warwick, who served as head of the Westbeth board since 2006.
Westbeth, the nation’s first public-private partnership for affordable housing and studio space for artists, celebrated its 40th anniversary last month.
Denes, who chaired the Westbeth board’s master planning committee before her election as president, has been with Cooper Union since 2000. She played a key role in managing the development of the school’s new building at 41 Cooper Square, as well as in the renovation of its historic Foundation Building.
“We’re extremely fortunate to have Ronni Denes as president of the board at this moment in Westbeth history,” said Steve Neil, Westbeth executive director. “We’ve grown to be the largest artists’ community in the world and Denes’s leadership, her expertise in nonprofit management and her long involvement in fundraising and institutional development will be integral to our continuing success.”
Before she came to Cooper Union, Denes was chief operating officer of NACME, a nonprofit organization that promotes access to engineering and science education for underrepresented African-American, Native American and Latino students.
She is a member of the board of directors of Arts and Remembrance, a nonprofit group that promotes personal narrative in art about the experience of war, oppression and injustice.
Westbeth, a project of the National Foundation for the Arts and the J.M. Kaplan Fund, was converted from a complex of 13 industrial buildings that previously housed Bell Laboratories on the block facing West St. between Bethune and Bank Sts. The complex provides live-work space for 383 artists and their families and provides numerous large and small spaces rented to painters, sculptors, musicians and other artists.
Westbeth is also home to the Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation, The New School’s drama graduate program, The Cherry Pit stage of the Cherry Lane Theatre, a synagogue, The Brecht Forum and the Westbeth Art Gallery.