John McInerney to Take Helm of Penn‘s Sachs Program for Arts Innovation

John McInerney, vice president of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, has been named the inaugural executive director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Sachs Program for Arts Innovation.

The announcement was made today by Penn Provost Vincent Price and Anita Allen, vice provost for faculty.

In his 13 years at the Cultural Alliance, the research and advocacy organization representing more than 450 cultural nonprofit groups in Greater Philadelphia, McInerney has worked closely with arts organizations in every discipline, as well as with Penn, the City of Philadelphia and arts alliances across the country. He launched and runs the successful Phillyfunguide events calendar and Funsavers, one of the largest nonprofit ticket discount programs in the United States, generating annual revenues of as much as $1 million for the 250 participating arts organizations. He has led the Alliance’s strategic research, advocacy and communications campaigns, including Engage 2020, a long-term initiative to increase cultural engagement in Greater Philadelphia supported by the Pew Charitable Trust and Wallace Foundation and led successful efforts to defeat a statewide “arts tax” and restore funding to the Philadelphia Cultural Fund. 

Before the Cultural Alliance, McInerney was director of communications and marketing at Penn’s Institute of Contemporary Art and a production manager at the Grand Opera House Theater in Wilmington, Del. He is a longtime board member of the Vox Populi Gallery, the largest and oldest independent nonprofit visual arts collective in Greater Philadelphia, serving as vice chair for community engagement and most recently as interim executive director and chair of the Executive Director Search Committee. He currently serves on the boards of the Eastern State Penitentiary and Penn’s Arthur Ross Gallery and has also been a board member of Dance USA/Philadelphia and Weathervane Music. 

McInerney earned an M.S. in arts administration from Drexel University and a B.A. in business administration from Loyola University in New Orleans and has recently participated in the Shannon Leadership Institute, Greater Philadelphia Leadership Exchange and Leadership Philadelphia Program.

“John McInerney is the ideal leader to launch our exciting new Sachs Program,” Price said. “He is a highly respected innovator, collaborator and mentor across every part of the arts, widely admired not only at Penn and in Philadelphia but also in the arts community across the country. I am enormously grateful to the consultative committee, chaired by Anita Allen, that helped us arrive at this great result and above all to Keith and Kathy Sachs, whose vision and longstanding commitment to Penn will transform arts innovation for generations to come.” 

The Sachs Arts Innovation Program -– founded with a $15 million gift from alumni Keith and Katherine Sachs, the largest gift ever made across the arts at Penn -– aims to visibly energize the arts and arts innovation at Penn. It will integrate research, teaching and practice, working collaboratively with faculty, students, arts and culture leaders and the Provost’s Arts Advisory Council and establishing a dedicated Arts Innovation Hub in the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts.

“We could not be more excited about Penn’s selection of John McInerney to be the first executive director of the Sachs Arts Innovation Program,” said Keith and Katherine Sachs. “His extensive professional experience in the arts, combined with his knowledge of Penn, represent exactly what we envisioned in making this gift -– and will make a powerful impact on the University and the City of Philadelphia in the years ahead.”


John McInerney