Baruch Alumna Milena Deleva Leads as New ED at the Association of Arts Administration Educators
October 4, 2021
Baruch College alumna Milena Deleva is the new executive director of the Association of Arts Administration Educators.
Ms. Deleva graduated from Baruch College’s Weissman School of Arts and Sciences in 2018 with a master’s degree in arts administration. She’s worked for nonprofit organizations for 15 years in programming, strategic planning, and fundraising, and has organized conferences, art residencies, writing workshops, and international literary festivals in the U.S. and in Europe.
Ms. Deleva said Baruch was “instrumental” in introducing her to “kindred spirits” and in “providing access to cultural productions and art institutions. The way the arts administration curriculum was designed allowed students to acquire skills in navigating across disciplines. The flexibility to design my own curriculum and take classes from other schools helped me understand and appreciate even more the transferability of cultural competence.”
But what she treasures most about her time at Baruch were what she described as “aha moments” from the core art classes. “I will never forget witnessing the very expression of the intrinsic value of art when a professor in Arts, Culture & The Civic Environment class cried while reading a poem by (Greek poet Constantine) Cavafy,” she said. Another unforgettable experience was a Museum and Gallery Management class discussion of Fred Wilson’s Mining the Museum exhibition, which challenged the underrepresentation of oppressed groups in existing museum practices.
Prior to joining the AAAE, Ms. Deleva was the executive director of the Elizabeth Kostova Foundation for Creative Writing for 14 years, overseeing its offices in Bulgaria and the U.S. She tripled the organization’s revenue through grants, individual giving, and online fundraising, and spearheaded collaborations with the University of Rochester and with the University of East Anglia in the U.K. Under her leadership, EKF’s work has garnered coverage by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Publishing Perspectives, and Poets & Writers.
Ms.Deleva also helped curate the New Literature from Europe Festival in Manhattan, served as a capacity-building consultant for the Staten Island Arts Council, and coordinated the Cultural Policy Education Group for the European Cultural Foundation in Amsterdam, where she was a steering committee member for the Policies for Culture Program.
“Milena brings a profound understanding of arts administration and cultural policy processes and developments, and during her work at the European Cultural Foundation (ECF) carried out multi-stakeholder dialogues among educators, government officials, and professionals for influencing arts policy change,” the AAAE said in announcing the appointment. “We could not be more thrilled to welcome Milena to AAAE, and are excited to see what her leadership will bring!”
Ms. Deleva has held several fellowships in the field of arts management, including CEC ArtsLink at the New York Public Library and at Lincoln Center. She is a co-author of Cultural Policy, Politics and Change and the author of Technological Park Culture, and has contributed to the Staten Island Arts blog, Oberlin College Reading in Translation blog, and Vagabond English Monthly among other outlets. As a literary arts manager, she co-curated the Smuggle Tactics exhibitions for the Queens Museum Biennale and for Ventana Gallery in Brooklyn. While obtaining her MA at Baruch, she organized multiple events across New York City, in venues such as 192 Books, Book Culture, Unnameable Books, Hunter College, the Bulgarian Consulate, the Bohemian Hall, the Scandinavian House, and the Nuyorican Poets Cafe.