Katz Appoints Jackson Heights Resident as Queens’ New Director of Cultural Affairs and Tourism

By Jonathan Sperling

Phil Ballman. Photo courtesy of Borough President Melinda Katz

Phil Ballman. Photo courtesy of Borough President Melinda Katz

There’s a new cultural affairs director in town.

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz announced on Thursday the appointment of internationally recognized cultural event producer Phil Ballman as the borough’s new director of cultural affairs and tourism.

“Phil is a valuable addition to our team here at Borough Hall,” said Katz in a statement. “Mr. Ballman has extensive experience as a live event producer, arts programmer and project manager and understands the many strengths of our borough’s cultural institutions. He has an impressive dedication to serving our community and has the talent and determination to further the growth in interest that ‘The World’s Borough’ has recently been receiving as a culturally-rich tourism destination.”

As part of his extensive resume, Ballman served as the manager of community engagement and partnerships for the College of Performing Arts at The New School. While in that role, he created ongoing partnerships and programming with an array of arts organizations, including the City Parks Foundation, the Lincoln Center Atrium, The Morgan Library and others.

Before that, Ballman was coordinator of special programs for The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, as well as the founder, producer and artistic director of the Otherground Music Festival, a free outdoor summer concert series that served Jackson Heights and Elmhurst with internationally-themed music performances throughout the summer of 2010.

Ballman also co-founded and was an agent at Mondo Mundo talent agency from 2006 to 2010 and served as director of publicity for Manhattan’s Sounds of Brazil music venue from 2004-2006.

“It is a thrill and an honor to have been selected by Borough President Katz to fill this important position,” said Ballman, who resides in Jackson Heights with his wife, visual artist Deborah Wasserman. "I look forward to helping the Borough President implement her vision for maximizing the impact and reach of our borough’s great cultural institutions and its other fabulous attractions, which have made Queens a go-to destination for so many visitors and residents.”