NYCxDESIGN announced that Elissa Black has been selected as executive director to steward the newly formed non-profit at a critical moment in the organization’s evolution. Driven by clear passion and purpose, Black has been deeply involved in New York City’s cultural and design world for over fifteen years with leading roles as managing director and interim executive director at Van Alen Institute and as senior manager, special initiatives, at the Guggenheim Museum. In those organizations, she brokered high-profile collaborations between public entities and private organizations, bringing dynamic cultural programming to life in New York and internationally. Black will bring this expertise to NYCxDESIGN as it navigates this next chapter as an organization poised to promote and support New York City’s diverse creative community of designers, makers, manufacturers, schools, cultural institutions, and events.
“My professional experiences have underscored how design elevates entire communities. When you bring design disciplines together, radically listen and enable collaborations across the spectrum, collective design-thinking can remake, reimagine, and positively impact the seemingly most intractable of societal issues. Together we can address issues that range from community resilience and recovery, to social justice and racial equity, to climate change and equitable public space, to access and inclusivity,” says Black. “NYCxDESIGN is perfectly poised to harness and promote the collective power of New York City’s design community. In this period of rebuilding, my focus as Executive Director will be on creating new and expanded opportunities for design in the city at large, and for the local communities we serve through this spirit of unity and cooperation.”
NYCxDESIGN started as a City-led initiative in 2013 and through grassroots efforts evolved into an influential entity with an international cachet, unifying New York’s creative capital under one umbrella and drawing significant exposure and opportunities to the City’s design disciplines, people, events, and related industries. Its signature event, The NYCxDESIGN Festival, attracts visitors from around the world to see NYC’s design scene take center stage at shows like ICFF and WantedDesign and in showrooms, studios, and special installations across the boroughs. As the driving force behind community engagement and participation, NYCxDESIGN’s Steering Committee includes volunteer representatives from NYC’s design schools, museums, cultural institutions, design districts, design centers, associations, and trade shows.
In 2019, the City of New York selected SANDOW, a company deeply rooted in design, to operate the program. After an assessment by SANDOW and the Steering Committee, it was determined that NYCxDESIGN should transition to a not-for-profit entity to best serve the design community and that SANDOW would stay involved to continue to strengthen and grow the program through operational support and as active media partners. Black will work closely with her team, led by Program Director Valerie Hoffman, a new Board of Directors, and the Steering Committee on NYCxDESIGN’s core events, engagement, and programming, as well as strategic new initiatives.
To learn more, visit