The Ford Foundation has announced the election of Lourdes Lopez to serve as a member of its Board of Trustees. Lopez will be the first artist to join the foundation’s Board of Trustees. Lopez is the artistic director of Miami City Ballet and Chairwoman of Miami City Ballet School, and a strong proponent of arts education and the transformational power of arts and culture to improve lives.
“Lourdes brings a dynamism and creative energy that will enrich and advance the work of the foundation,” said Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation. “She shares a deep commitment to social justice and has continually broken barriers in her own life while working to expand opportunity for everyone.”
Lopez is also the director of Morphoses, a New York-based dance company she co-founded in 2007. Prior to her role at Miami City Ballet, she was the executive director of The George Balanchine Foundation, where she helped educate the public about dance, and she also co-founded the Cuban Artists Fund, which supports Cuban and Cuban-American artists. She is the first Hispanic woman to head a major ballet company in the United States.
Lopez was born in Havana, Cuba and raised in Miami. She received a scholarship to attend the School of American Ballet as part of an effort supported by the Ford Foundation to expand opportunities for arts participation and strengthen America’s leading cultural anchors. She then joined the corps de ballet of the New York City Ballet at sixteen and was eventually promoted to soloist and principal dancer under the direction of George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins.
“The Ford Foundation’s efforts to strengthen arts in America directly impacted my life and allowed me to fulfill my dream of a lifetime in the arts,” she said. “Art and artists are both a connection to and reflection of our society. It is an extraordinary gift to now join the Ford Foundation and to participate in the dialogue of social change on a global basis.”
Lopez also worked as a cultural arts reporter for WNBC-TV in New York, served on the dance faculty at Barnard College and has served as a dance panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2007, she received an award from the American Immigration Law Foundation honoring Cuban Americans for their accomplishments and contributions to society, and in 2011 she received the Jerome Robbins Award in recognition for her lifetime devotion to dance.