By Bill Parry
Queens Borough President Melinda Katz announced the appointment of Jackson Heights resident Phil Ballman as the borough’s new director of Cultural Affairs and Tourism.
Ballman is an internationally-recognized cultural event producer with two decades of comprehensive experience presenting world-class programming for major institutions and independent cultural organizations and artists.
“Phil is a valuable addition to our team here at Borough Hall,” Katz said. “Mr. Ballman has extensive experience as a live event producer, arts programmer and project manager and understands the many strengths of our borough’s cultural institutions. He has an impressive dedication to serving our community and has a talent and determination to further the growth in interest that ‘The World’s Borough’ has recently received as a culturally-rich tourism destination.”
From 2015 to 2018, Ballman — who lives in Jackson Heights with his wife, visual artist Deborah Wasserman — was manager of Community Engagement and Partnerships for the College of Performing Arts at The New School.
In that position, Ballman created ongoing partnerships and programming with external organizations that included the City Parks Foundation, Make Music New York, the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival, the World Music Institute, the Lincoln Center Atrium, the Union Square Partnership and The Morgan Library, among others.
Ballman was also the founder, producer and artistic director of the Otherground Music Festival, a free outdoor summer concert series that served the diverse Queens neighborhoods of Jackson Heights and Elmhurst with first-class, internationally-themed music performances in the summer of 2010.
Additionally, Ballman was a co-founder and agent with the Mondo Mundo talent agency from 2006 to 2010 and was director of publicity for the Sounds of Brazil music venue in Manhattan from 2004 to 2006.
He previously was the manager and drummer for the band “Antibala” from 1999 to 2003.
“It is a thrill and an honor to have been selected by Borough President Katz to fill such an important position,” Ballman said. “I look forward to helping the borough president implement her vision for maximizing the impact and reach of our borough’s great cultural institutions and its other fabulous attractions, which have made Queens a go-to destination for so many visitors and residents.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr