New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray appointed Paul Gunther, renowned arts programmer, historical preservationist and advocate, to be executive director of the Gracie Mansion Conservancy. In his new role, Gunther will champion a reimagined relationship between New Yorkers and Gracie Mansion.
Among Gunther’s new responsibilities are preserving the historic fabric and other furnishings of the 1799 landmark home, as well as planning public programming and events, raising funds to support the mission and overseeing the administration of the conservancy.
Paul Gunther, courtesy Institute for Classical Art and Architecture
Gunther has served as special assistant to Henry Geldzahler, commissioner at the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, under Mayor Ed Koch, and, prior to his newest appointment, was president of the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art. In addition to writing extensively on preservation, architecture, land use, landscape design and art history, Gunther has also held roles as vice president of institutional advancement and director of development at the New-York Historical Society, as director of development and American liaison at the American Center in Paris, and as the director of development and public affairs at the Municipal Art Society, as well as volunteer organizations including the Staten Island Historical Society at Historic Richmondtown, London’s Sir John Soane's Museum Foundation and the City Club of New York.
As Mayor de Blasio said, “2017 marks the 75th anniversary of the LaGuardias’ arrival as the first mayoral residents to Gracie Mansion. With that in mind, now is the ideal time to realize its full potential as a place where history is made and measured. We are thrilled to have Paul join our Gracie Mansion family and lead the way in forging new paths to experience and interpret the mansion as a place of discovery.”
“Gracie Mansion is not only home to Dante, Chiara, Bill and me—it’s the people’s house. With Paul Gunther we have selected someone who truly understands the scope and depth of history told and untold, and who will work with our vision and advisors to breathe new life into the mayoral residence. Mr. Gunther will help make Gracie Mansion an accessible resource for all New Yorkers and visitors to New York City,” First Lady Chirlane McCray said.
Cultural Affairs Commissioner and Chair of the Gracie Mansion Conservancy Tom Finkelpearl reflected, “Ever since Mayor Fiorello La Guardia moved into Gracie Mansion, it has been a landmark for all New Yorkers and part of our collective identity. Paul Gunther brings deep experience and real passion to the position of executive director, and I look forward to working with him to activate Gracie as a home and historic site that brings the full breadth of our city’s rich story to life and makes it a vital place for the celebration of contemporary New York.”