Leslie Prosterman

2001–2004 Vera List Center Fellow
Leslie Prosterman is a poet and folklorist living in New York and Washington, D.C.

Programs and projects
Art's Legal Challenge, Art, Community and Civil Society, Art in Public and Paradoxes of the Arts: Policy and Diversity

Leslie Prosterman has worked for various public agencies as a folklorist, museum consultant, and poet. Her experience in international, federal, state, and local programs includes writing cultural policy for UNESCO, consulting with the Smithsonian Institution, and teaching poetry in the West Tisbury Public Library. Prosterman is particularly interested in public culture, along with traditional and community-based arts, comparative aesthetics, writing and performance, and the politics of exhibition and display. Before she was a Senior Fellow for the Vera List Center, Prosterman was a tenured associate professor of American Studies and Folklore at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. After twenty years in the academy, she returned to the public sector as a poet and cultural activist. She is committed to facilitating the relationship between arts and civil society and to the expansion of the public realm.

Prosterman is the author of a book of poetry, Snapshots and Dances (Garden District Press, 2011), along with other poems in assorted journals and collections. She wrote a study on community and aesthetics, Ordinary Life, Festival Days: Aesthetics in the Midwestern CountyFair (Smithsonian Institution University Press, 1995), and, among other scholarly articles, "Subtle, intangible, and non-quantifiable. Aesthetics, Law, and Speech in Public Space" in The Arts of Democracy: Public Culture and the State (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009). She has also produced community arts festivals, curated an experimental exhibition ("Framing the Exhibition: Multiple Constructions," UMBC, 2000), facilitated workshops on narrative with the elderly, and promoted opportunities for artists in traditional and alternative communities to be seen and heard. (Biography as of 2013)