Robert Rauschenberg Foundation Elects Michelle Coffey and Peter Kraus to Board of Directors and Appoints Karen Sutton as Interim Chief Operating Officer

Visual Arts

New York, NY – May 3, 2023 – The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation is pleased to announce that Michelle Coffey and Peter Kraus have been elected to its Board of Directors, at the same time as it has appointed Karen Sutton to be its Interim Chief Operating Officer.

“The Foundation is honored to welcome Michelle and Peter to the Board, allowing us the benefit of their recognized leadership and experience in the arts and culture, coupled with exceptional expertise in a broad range of philanthropic endeavors.  And we are likewise thrilled that Karen has joined as our Interim COO, bringing deep experience in all aspects of organizational management together with her own commitment to a number of non-profits.  All three will greatly strengthen the Foundation’s advancement of Robert Rauschenberg’s own commitment to the transformative role art plays in the world,” said Michael Straus, Board Chair.

Michelle Coffey is Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Lambent Foundation, where she leads Lambent’s strategy and drives its vision while mindfully honoring complexity. By nurturing emergent ideas and welcoming uncertainty, Michelle works as an advocate and partner to imagine and build more just and equitable societies.  While working at the Walker Arts Center during the 1990s American culture wars, Michelle learned to fuse her work with her personal and political values and respect the interconnections between art, location, and community. Michelle has built on her background in human rights advocacy and philanthropy to develop Lambent’s approach. She served as Director of Starry Night Fund and Senior Philanthropic Advisor at Tides Foundation. Her portfolio spanned global human rights, women and girls, criminal justice reform, arts and culture, and HIV/AIDS. This challenging work alerted Michelle to the vital role of arts and culture in progressive movements. Michelle serves on several national boards, including Grantmakers in the Arts, Slought Foundation, and Creative Capital.

Peter Kraus is Chairman and CEO of Aperture Investors and, with his wife Jill, the co-founder of The Kraus Family Foundation, a non-profit that supports public art and emerging artists. For over four decades, Peter has worked at major financial institutions including Goldman Sachs, and Merrill Lynch, and most recently at AllianceBernstein, where he served as Chairman and CEO, successfully leading the firm’s turnaround after the crisis in 2008. He received a B.A. in economics from Trinity College and an M.B.A. from NYU Stern School of Business.

As Interim COO Karen Sutton will focus on all aspects of operational, staff and financial management, as well as the completion of the Foundation’s residency facilities on Captiva Island.   Prior to that, she served at Sotheby’s over the course of 24 years as CAO, VP, SVP, EVP, and Managing Director. And before that, she served as Deputy Director for Planning and Administration at the American Folk Art Museum.  Karen is also a member of the board of International House, where she recently served as Chair of the Transition and Planning Committee. She holds a B.A. in art history from Hofstra University.


About The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation
The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation builds on the legacy of Robert Rauschenberg (1925–2008) who believed strongly that creative practitioners could serve as catalysts for social change. He shared his appreciation for chance and the everyday by seeking to act in the “gap” between art and life. He was also a gifted collaborator, breaking disciplinary boundaries by experimenting with scientists, performers, and visual artists. As such, we celebrate new and even untested ways of thinking and acting.

The Foundation maintains residencies for artists and scholars in Captiva, Florida, and in its New York archives, and operates a philanthropic program that supports small to midsize arts and socially engaged organizations that are experimental in approach and drive towards equity.

Additionally, it promotes in-depth research and partnerships for staff, curators, critics, scholars, and students that open the artist’s life and work to wider interpretation and understanding, and supports exhibitions, publications, and special projects across the globe that reflect Rauschenberg’s joyful, responsive, and irreverent approach to making art while living an empathetic and meaningful life.



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