Martin Cohen has been elected chairman of Guild Hall’s board of trustees, and actor and arts advocate Alec Baldwin was elected board president, the East Hampton cultural institution announced this week.
Mr. Cohen succeeds Melville Straus who stepped down after serving 18 years as chairman.
Mr. Cohen is co-chairman and co-chief executive officer of Cohen & Steers, Inc., a global investment manager listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Mr. Cohen studied biochemistry at the City College of New York and worked in medical research after graduation. He later received a master’s degree in business administration from New York University in 1976.
In addition, to being a member of Guild Hall’s board for a decade, Mr. Cohen currently serves as chairman of the board of the City College 21st Century Foundation and in 2006 received the school’s Alumni Association’s highest honor, the Townsend Harris Medal. In 2009, he was honored at its Presidential Awards dinner and in 2013, he was awarded an honorary doctorate degree in science from the school. Mr. Cohen also serves on the board of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and New York City’s Central Park Conservancy.
Mr. Cohen lives in New York City and East Hampton, where he his wife of 40 years, Michele, an active supporter of education and the arts, have raised their four children.
In his role as chairman he succeeds Mr. Straus, who, during his tenure, oversaw the extensive renovation of the museum, theater, education center and administration offices. Mr. Straus also spearheaded Guild Hall’s capital campaign. In March, Mr. Straus was honored for his leadership and philanthropic efforts at Guild Hall’s Academy of the Arts Lifetime Achievement Awards. At that time, he initiated a matching fund drive that successfully paid off the remainder of the capital campaign.
Mr. Baldwin is best known as an award winning actor, producer and author. He is a supporter of numerous causes related to public policy and the arts. He serves on the boards of People For The American Way, the Hamptons International Film Festival, the New York Philharmonic and Guild Hall. He is also a supporter of the Radiation and Public Health Project, East Hampton Day Care Center, the Actors Fund, the Public Theatre/New York Shakespeare Festival, the Roundabout Theatre, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the Water Keeper Alliance, among many others.
Mr. Baldwin has been a member of Guild Hall’s board since 2011. He is a 1994 graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and was presented with an honorary doctorate of fine Arts from NYU in 2010. He lives in New York City and Amagansett with his wife Hilaria.