Maura Cuffie is a new New Yorker committed to understanding and exploring change processes in various forms. Her study of sociology, images, and identity politics in Philadelphia led her to the non-profit arts field. Before joining the team at EmcArts, she worked with the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program where she developed a deep desire to work in the intersection of social change and the arts. She carries out multi-disciplinary, socially-engaged and dialogic practices through The Free Breakfast Program, an arts organization that is informed by the Black Panthers’ legacy of revolutionary humanism. She is currently a Create Change Fellow with The Laundromat Project.
“I’m inspired by artists who are cultural innovators and social justice activists who make major shifts in the landscape towards equity,” she says. “I’m thinking particularly about Rick Lowe’s Project Row Houses and Open A.I.R. Artist Services Program at the Queens Museum. Both programs/projects exist within a somewhat traditional framework, a 501c3, a museum, an arts institution, but manage to transform the role of an artist into something far from traditional.” Maura strives to create space for interdiscplinary art and stories that are championed by those directly impacted by institutions and systems.
Maura joined EmcArts in 2013 as our Operations Coordinator, and then in 2017 moved into the role of Program Manager for the place-based New Pathways programs, which build adaptive capacity in arts & culture organizations. At EmcArts, Maura is able to feed her desires to learn about change-making in action and to support and leverage the strengths of her team for innovation and adaptive change.