about me

Morgan von Prelle Pecelli, PhD

I am an anthropologist and creative sector strategist. I work at the intersection of anthropology, art, and sustainable urban development. My particular interests and experiences in these areas cluster around post-industrial redevelopment, contemporary art & performance, the cultural activation of public spaces & privately-owned public spaces (POPS), and organizational planning & change management.

Since 2000, I have been providing artists and cultural organizations with strategic planning, program design, community and real estate sector partnership development, project management, fundraising, marketing, and financial management support. Until 2018, I worked primarily in New York City’s Lower Manhattan neighborhoods, which were undergoing radical transformations in their built environment, employment industries, and residential demographics.

My experience in the New York City context taught me how vital it is for artists and cultural organizations to work in partnership with community organizers, real estate developers, urban planners, designers, key anchor institutions, and area employers. People living and working in communities with a visibly thriving creative and cultural energy are more attached to those communities. Their attachment to the creative energy of these places drives them to innovate, cooperate, and transform. That capacity for collective change is what we need in order to develop sustainable and resilient futures for all of our communities, whether they are in hyper-dense mega-cities, small cities, suburban towns, or sparsely populated rural areas.

In 2011, I received a PhD in Anthropology from Columbia University. My research was concerned primarily with a generation of artists living and working in post-industrial New York City — specifically, their engagement with urban landscapes and real estate development projects, their hybrid economies and barter systems, and their relationships to the public as well as to their own fragmented history. Before attending Columbia, I received an MA from the University of Chicago where I was researching understandings of intimacy in contemporary society. I was also a Fulbright Scholar in Germany, received a BA from Colby College, and am a proud alumna of Phillips Academy (Andover).

Depending on the project, I draw on my network of creative and strategic professionals to bring additional skills and insights necessary to get the job done.