Board of Trustees
It is with great sadness that we, the Board of Trustees, announce the passing of Sigmund Balka, member of the Queens Museum Board of Trustees. The Museum extends its deepest condolences to the Balka family and Sigmund’s wife Elinor.
Sig was a member of the Board for 20 years, serving on the Museum’s Executive Director Search Committee in 2002 and who was instrumental in the appointment of Tom Finkelpearl, now NYC’s Commissioner of Cultural Affairs. Sig also chaired the Museum’s Collections and Acquisitions Committee (1997-2019).
In addition to his own generous donations of artwork including Storm, a painting by artist Tamar Hirschl; a print collection by William Sharp; Language Fragments, a collage by Evelyn Eller; and Untitled a digital drawing by Natan Nuchi, he also facilitated the donation of a large number of artworks to the Queens Museum including 138 photographs that comprised the Photography in the Fine Arts exhibition of the 1939 World’s Fair; two Albert Bierstadt drawings from the Tanenbaum family collection; more than 1,000 drawings by artist William Sharp; paintings by Albert Feingold and Christie Scheele; and 35 works by John Sloan.
For the Museum’s annual gala in 2009, Sig helped raise significant funds against the backdrop of a national financial crisis. Additionally, he introduced the Museum to important patrons and friends over the years including Harold Snyder and Agnes Varis who made major donations to the Museum’s expansion campaign, as well as current trustee, Harvey Ross.
Chairman of the Board of Trustees Mark Coleman says “We are incredibly saddened by Sig’s passing. Aside from his unwavering support and commitment to the Museum for the past two decades, he believed in the arts’ ability to enact social change and bolster community development. His contributions to the Museum were significant and will be remembered. Our thoughts are with the Balka family.”
Board of Trustees
Mark J. Coleman
Susan L. Browning
Bill de Blasio
Mayor, City of New York
Speaker, New York City Council
Queens Borough President
Commissioner, New York City Department of Parks and Recreation
Commissioner, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs