The Louis Armstrong House Museum in Corona has a new leader. The National Historic Landmark dedicated to the cultural, historical and humanitarian legacy of the jazz legend announced that Regina Bain has been appointed as executive director.
Bain is an artist, leader, facilitator and program designer with nearly two decades of experience working in nonprofit organizations. She is currently the co-chair of Culture @3’s anti-racism subcommittee and serves on the national advisory committee of Urban Bush Women, a dance company that galvanizes artists, activists and audiences through performances, artists development and community involvement.
“I am so proud to join this community dedicated to celebrating the legacy of Louis Armstrong,” Bain said. “The House Museum is a crown jewel in American culture. Mr. Armstrong’s archives is among the most significant Black archival collections and one of the most substantial of any jazz musician.”
Bain produces The Drama Podcast, leads the Yale Black Alumni Association and serves on the Yale Board of Governors. Previously, she served as associate vice president of the Posse Foundation, a national leadership and college access program which helps send teams of students or “Posses” to top colleges and universities.
“The health, economic and racial pandemics afflicting America have had a profound effect on the House, but like Louis Armstrong, we see opportunities within challenges,” Bain said. “With the opening of the new Louis Armstrong Center in spring 2021, the House Museum is poised to grow exponentially. The expanded campus will become a new, international destination celebrating Armstrong’s preeminent place in our culture and living out his values of artistic excellence, global ambassadorship, youth leadership and service to the community.”
The announcement comes at the time when the Louis Armstrong House Museum is focusing more than ever on how to engage the community through its unique family-friendly blend of arts and education, a vision that Bain will help grow and steer. This vision includes putting into motion several long-in-the-works initiatives, including the restoration of the House Museum this fall and launching the virtual “Armstrong Now!” program. Bain will also help develop new programs and activities focusing on community engagement, as well as ensuring that the House Museum continues to be a sustainable and accessible environment amid COVID-19.
“Globally famous Louis Armstrong chose to live in Corona, Queens, because he craved its sense of community and its diversity,” Queens College President Frank Wu said. “A musician and international ambassador like no other, he left us an enduring and vital legacy that we are honored to uphold. In Regina Bain, the new director of the Louis Armstrong House Museum, we have found a leader who possesses the depth and breadth of silk, spanning arts management, community engagement, administration and mentorship, needed to make Armstrong’s legacy even more accessible at a time when it is most needed.”
Bain earned her BA in African-American studies and theater from Yale University and her MFA from the Yale School of Drama.
“As a member of the search committee, I asked myself what is the most important criteria for selecting our new director,” Louis Armstrong House Museum Board Chair Jerry Chazen said. “I ultimately realized it was ‘is this the one person Louis Armstrong would have picked to run this organization?’ Regina was the one who best fit that bill. Her desire to interpret Louis’s legacy as an artist and humanitarian will pave the way for new generations to discover his genius and contributions to our history.”