Daniel Gallant: Executive Director of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe

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Daniel Gallant is the Executive Director of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, as well as a writer, producer, actor, and teacher. According to the Wall Street Journal, "Mr. Gallant has exploited expanding social-media tools to grow the cafe from a small, volunteer-led venue best known for weekly poetry events to a thriving arts center with partnerships across the city." Daniel is the recipient of a 2016 Eisenhower Fellowship and an alumnus of National Arts Strategies’ Chief Executive Program. He previously served as the Director of Theater and Talk Programming at the 92nd Street Y’s Makor and Tribeca centers, and has produced dozens of theater, music and charity events.

Daniel has lectured and led workshops about marketing and arts management for the Kennedy Center, BAM, Opera America, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Google, Chase, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Foursquare, the Devos Institute, Columbia University, NYU and other entities. Daniel has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Crain’s New York, the Daily News, Time Out New York and Voice of America; and on MTV, NBC, NY1, CBS, NPR, Univision, the BBC and other networks. His writing has appeared in the New York Post and anthologies from TCG, Vintage Books and Applause.

What do you do best?

I run a multi-arts and multicultural organization that presents poetry, music, theater and education events. I consult with non-profits about marketing and management. I collaborate with dozens of artists and arts leaders and interface with press, politicians and funders. I also write articles, short stories, plays and monologues. 

What makes you the best?

I combine detailed planning with improvisation. I take lots of calculated risks. My management strategy incorporates lessons gleaned from poker, theater and sports. Most importantly, I learn from the artists, audiences and students whom our organization serves. 

How will you stay the best?

I plan far ahead but make frequent adjustments. I use our organization’s metrics to determine which initiatives (or accidents) boost revenues, visibility and attendance. I spend a lot of time learning from my colleagues – at conferences, panels, retreats and workshops – and I volunteer with other non-profits in order to learn how and why they succeed and fail. 

Biggest success?

Raising millions in capital grants to renovate our century-old building; transforming our organization’s online presence; launching a program that helps teachers and community leaders use poetry as a teaching tool; receiving an Eisenhower Fellowship.

What are your aspirations?

Personal: to continue creating short stories, plays, monologues and films.

Business: to engage new audiences, grow the poetry and theater community and help educators use poetry and theater as teaching tools.

Most challenging moment?

Our building suffered significant damage during both Hurricane Irene and Hurricane Sandy; returning the building to functionality after those storms was very difficult.

Favorite Motto:

Be a short-term pessimist and a long-term optimist.

Favorite People:

My family, my colleagues and my mentors.

Favorite Places:

New York City’s East Village, Woodstock, Norway, the coastal drive between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Favorite Products:

Coconut water, dark chocolate, tempranillo.

Current Passions:

Writing, poker, exercise.

My social media links are:
The Nuyorican Poets Cafe's social media links are: