Maud Lyon, president and CEO of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, is retiring. Lyon, head of the group since 2015, noted that she is 65 and said, “This is a good time to step off the stage.”
Lyon said she will return to the Detroit area. She came to GPCA from Michigan, where she had been head of the arts and culture association CultureSource.
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She said Friday that among notable accomplishments during her tenure, “I think the biggest is really the focus on diversity, equity and inclusion, which is something we’ve been working on pretty much since I got here and is all the more important now.”
Two funders, the Samuel S. Fels Fund and PNC Bank’s Arts Alive program, “have credited the alliance for influencing their thinking," helping them to create "more equitable funding practices,” she said.
Most recently, GPCA, which represents the interests of about 400 Philadelphia-area arts and culture member organizations, has been a partner in the effort to raise money for arts groups whose operations have been shut down by the COVID-19 pandemic. Already, $4.4 million has been raised and 1,054 grants issued through the COVID-19 Arts Aid PHL Fund, she said.
Lyon also points to work the cultural alliance has done involving social impact of the arts. GPCA’s “Social Impact Census” turned up more than a thousand programs a year that its member groups are running covering issues like racial justice, violence prevention, neighborhood development, and helping people with autism and Alzheimer’s.
"The arts have a major role to play to changing people’s hearts and minds around helping vulnerable populations,” she said.