Aidan Connolly serves as Executive Director of Irish Arts Center in Hell’s Kitchen, New York City.
During his tenure he has led the transformation of IAC into one of New York’s most dynamic multidisciplinary institutions, through the development of numerous presenting programs, residencies, festivals, collaborations, commissions, and institutional partnerships; average annual revenue growth of more than 13% since 2007; and the development of a $60 million state of the art new facility from concept to completion.
Prior to his current position, Connolly spent a decade working in politics and government in New York and nationally, serving on the Gore 2000 presidential campaign, as NYC Finance Director for the NYS Democratic Senate Campaign committee in 2002, and from 2003-2007 as senior advisor, political director and chief of staff for the NYS Deputy Senate Minority Leader. During that period, he helped build a lean, effective political and fundraising operation for the Senate Minority and re-brand the Democratic conference as agents of effective, progressive change, ultimately helping to reduce the long-held Republican majority from seven seats to two, and leading to the passage of Rockefeller Drug Law reforms, the protection of access to emergency contraception, an increase in the minimum wage, and marriage equality.
Connolly began his career as a theatre and concert artist and producer, appearing in numerous regional productions and national tours including Forever Plaid, My Fair Lady, The Secret Garden, and Assassins, and dozens of concerts with the Julliard Chorus at Carnegie Hall, The Metropolitan Opera, and Jazz at Lincoln Center.
A native of Newington, CT, Connolly holds a B.A. in English and Theatre with honors from Providence College, and an M.B.A. in Strategic Management from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. He is a four time recipient of the John M. Bendheim Fellowship from the Wharton Social Impact Initiative, a frequent panelist for New York State Council of the Arts and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and has previously served as a guest lecturer for the Master’s programs in Arts Administration and Theatre Management at Columbia University.