Yona Backer (she/her) is a creative strategist working in the field of contemporary art and philanthropy at the intersection of social justice.
Over the course of her 25+ year career in the arts, Backer has worked in the global contemporary art world in various capacities and contexts. They range from curator, educator, lecturer, cultural producer, and director of several art spaces, including the Americas Society where she was the Director of the Visual Arts. She co-led the Grant Program at The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, during which time she initiated new programs and organized large-scale conferences. She is the founder of Third Streaming, an interdisciplinary art space in downtown Manhattan (2010-2014) dedicated to experimental and socially-engaged art.
Backer is best known for being a champion of artistic practice and free expression, and more recently, for the capacity building and fundraising work she provides to arts organizations and foundations situated at the intersection of art and social justice. In addition to her decade-long term at The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Backer consulted for artist-endowed foundations such as Lambent Foundation and The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation. 3S oversees The Alvin Baltrop Trust.
Backer brings significant depth of knowledge across multiple issues and geographic areas in philanthropic giving and nonprofit management that directly matches the interest of her clients. Her team-based approach stresses creativity, effectiveness, efficiency, customization, and confidentiality. She has a BA in Art History and History from Hunter College, City University of New York; and an MA in Art History and Archaeology from Columbia University. In 2018, Backer received her certificate from the Aspen Institute’s Artist-Endowed Foundations Initiative (AEFI). Born in Kingston, Jamaica and raised in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Backer is based in New York City.