Art historian, museum director, and curator Nora Halpern has spent her public and private life advocating for art, artists, and social justice. Since 2001, she has been a Vice President at Americans for the Arts, focusing on arts policy convenings and engaging individual thought leaders to advance the arts and arts education across America. She is co-founder of Street Scenes: Projects for DC, a public art program that provides access to the broadest possible audience by utilizing the city as a gallery space. Raised in New York City, Halpern began her career in Los Angeles as the Frederick R. Weisman Collections Curator and Founding Director of Pepperdine University’s Art Museum. She was a Los Angeles Human Relations Commission member and received the Mayor’s Award of Merit for Outstanding Volunteer Service.
Halpern has taught and lectured internationally. Among her many publications is the recent Putting the Arts to Work: 15 Years of National Arts Policy Roundtables, 2006-2020. She has curated numerous exhibitions, including a Yoko Ono retrospective in Venice, Italy. Halpern has served on the boards of the Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art, the Santa Monica Museum of Art, ArtTable, PS Arts, and Scholastic’s Alliance for Young Artists and Writers, among others. She was appointed to the Arts Commission of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2021 and was a Biden Arts Policy Committee member. Halpern received her B.A. and M.A. from UCLA and was awarded a Helena Rubinstein Fellowship in Curatorial Studies from the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Independent Study Program.