Crain’s New York Business has recognized Irish Arts Center and its Executive Director, Aidan Connolly, in this year’s Notable in Non-Profits and Philanthropy. Connolly is one of 57 “New York heroes” the magazine has honored for “coming to the rescue of a city gripped by disaster” during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Never in its history has the nonprofit realm been challenged as it has been this past year,” Crain’s said. After consulting with leaders in the nonprofit, philanthropy, and business worlds, the magazine has highlighted “a cohort of individuals whose fundraising, volunteer work, program management and other charitable efforts enabled New Yorkers to navigate a once-in-a-generation emergency. Indeed, the honorees have greatly helped the city emerge from a ravaging pandemic scathed but intact.”
Crain’s said that Connolly has led Irish Arts Center’s “steady growth and its emergence as a celebrated New York City cultural center,” and that, “throughout the pandemic, he has worked to ensure the safety of the center’s staff and the addition of virtual programming.”
Connolly was nominated by M&T Bank in response to Irish Arts Center’s stewardship of its $60 million capital project, and the organization’s success in maintaining a strong digital programmatic presence, despite the shutdown of non-essential construction and suspension of in-person cultural programming as a result of the pandemic.
“I’m delighted to receive this honor on behalf of the Irish Arts Center staff and board," Connolly said. "From the beginning of the Covid crisis we’ve focused on the well-being of our people—artists and audiences, staff and board—so that we have both the human and financial capacity we need to help drive New York’s cultural restoration. We’re grateful to M&T Bank and to Crain’s New York Business for this recognition.”
Irish Arts Center has presented 125 digital projects, held 140 online courses, and reached 199,900 people across 116 countries. IAC’s programming has included its Grásta commissions series, which has engaged a wide range of artists to create new works prompted by the idea of finding grace in uncertainty; At Home with Irish Arts Center, a series of new, commissioned work by IAC’s local and international artistic community; and Live from Irish Arts Center: Encore. IAC also reimagined its annual Book Day, on St. Patrick's Day.