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Sam Miller. Photo: Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.

Sam Miller (1952–2018)

Sam Miller, who was president of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, or LMCC, from 2010 to 2016, has died. Miller had a long history of serving the arts community throughout New York, across the East Coast, and abroad as a founder and leader of numerous cultural organizations. He founded and directed Wesleyan University’s Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance, and in 1991, he created the Cambodian Artists Project, a group that worked to preserve and present Cambodian performing arts. He also served as the executive director of the New England Foundation for the Arts, was the managing director of the modern dance company Pilobolus, and was the president and executive director of Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. Additionally, he was a producer for Dance the Spirit of Cambodia, Men Dancers, and the Ted Shawn Legacy, among other projects.

Lili Chopra, LMCC’s executive director of artistic programs, said: “Sam was a visionary and a fearless leader for so many artists, particularly in the dance world. He created systems, ran institutions, and mentored the next generation of leaders in the field. I first met Sam from afar when I moved to New York City twenty years ago, and he was already a legend. Since then, he was always a guiding presence with his passion and drive. He was the ultimate champion for artists. He was their refuge, and he made it possible and sustainable for them to continue to create essential and ephemeral work. Sam has had a lasting impact at LMCC and our Arts Center on Governors Island is taking form as a testimony of his vision, resilience, and strength.”

“I have seen Sam’s consistency and commitment to the ongoing understanding and support of numerous artists and their multiple goals and needs,” said Reggie Wilson, the artistic director of Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance Group. “His dedication to sharing their ideas and processes and advocating for their artworks with his colleagues and the public is both inspiring and a testament to the value of the cultural life of [New York]. Sam advocates for the intrinsic value and immense contribution of artists and the work they make. This is priceless.”

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