Photo by: Robert Pacheco
Photo by: Robert Pacheco

Claire Peeps Joins Board of the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts

Los Angeles, CA. March 21, 2019 — The Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts announced today the appointment of Los Angeles philanthropy and nonprofit leader Claire Peeps to its Board of Directors. She joins Chair John C. Welchman and members Stephanie Barron, Catherine Opie, Edward Rada, and Joan Weinstein.

“We are delighted to welcome Claire to the board of the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts," said Board Chair John C. Welchman. “Her exemplary work at the helm of a sister nonprofit that champions imaginative and risk-taking projects in Los Angeles—and the exceptional people behind them—makes a unique fit with the mission of our foundation. We will benefit greatly from her knowledge, expertise, and energy."

Peeps currently serves as the executive director of the Durfee Foundation, a family foundation that focuses on “people who are making a better Los Angeles" and is best known for its leadership development, and community building, principally through its Stanton Fellowships, Sabbatical program, and Springboard Fund. Before joining the organization in 1997, she served as the Associate Director of the Los Angeles Festival, an international arts festival led by Peter Sellars. Peeps was also the publisher of High Performance magazine, which documented the progressive art world, and the director of education at the Ansel Adams Center/Friends of Photography. She has served as a consultant to the J. Paul Getty Center, the San Francisco Art Institute, the Music Center of Los Angeles County, and ARTS Inc., among others.

“Having had the privilege to see Mike Kelley perform at LACE and other L.A. venues in the late eighties, it is an especially great honor to join the Mike Kelley Foundation board,” said Peeps. “Mike’s work was formative and enormously influential among his peers then, and it continues to be a source of inspiration for artists working today. Though many didn’t know it, Mike was always generous in quietly offering support to other artists. That his legacy should be extended through the Foundation is a beautiful thing, indeed.”

Founded in 2007 by artist Mike Kelley, the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts supports artists and arts organizations committed to developing compelling practices and programs—including experimental projects, lesser-known artists, and daring content across a wide range of disciplines. Led by Executive Director Mary Clare Stevens, the organization furthers Mike Kelley’s philanthropic work through the Artists Projects Grants, an initiative launched in 2015 that supports the creation of vital and often difficult-to-produce work. Since the program’s inception almost four years ago, the Foundation has funded twenty-seven projects, including exhibitions requiring extensive research, such as Gráfica América at the Museum of Latin American Art, which traced the legacy of printmaking in the Americas; LA Freewaves's one-night event Ain't I A Womxn? A Genders Promenade in Los Angeles State Historic Park; and the forthcoming Rodney McMillian: Videos and Performances at the Underground Museum. The Foundation also preserves Mike Kelley’s legacy more broadly and advances the understanding of his life and creative achievements through exhibitions, loans from its collections, and providing information and resources to scholars, curators, students and the public.

“For years, Claire has been at the forefront of arts leadership in Los Angeles, as an instructor, administrator, publisher, and philanthropist,” says Stevens. “Her commitment to creativity and activism over the course of her career is an inspiration, and her knowledge of Los Angeles’ cultural landscape is encyclopedic—I truly look forward to her insights and guidance.”

In addition to serving as Executive Director of the Durfee Foundation and her earlier professional positions, Peeps was President of Grantmakers in the Arts, the national organization of arts grantmakers; Chair of Southern California Grantmakers; and Vice Chair of the California Council for the Humanities. She is a former President of the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, appointed by Supervisor Sheila Kuehl to represent the Third District, and currently also a member of the County’s Quality & Productivity Commission She is a Senior Fellow at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Policy, and an adjunct instructor at the USC Price School of Public Policy, where she was named Outstanding Faculty in 2016. Her book, Activists Speak Out: Reflections on the Pursuit of Change in America, was published by St. Martins/ Palgrave in March 2001. Her writing has appeared in Zócalo Public Square, Time, The Saturday Evening Post, the Getty Iris, and GOOD Magazine. She is a graduate of Stanford University and the

University of New Mexico, and holds certificates from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University.