Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel is an author, television interviewer and producer, preservationist, and civic activist. In 1966, Dr. Diamonstein-Spielvogel became the first Director of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, initiating the first public art exhibition by Tony Smith at Bryant Park and the first public performance in Central Park of the Metropolitan Opera. She also served as a Commissioner of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission from 1972 to 1987 and was Chair of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Foundation from 1987 to 1995. She served as a Member of the New York City Cultural Commission and a Member of the New York City Art Commission.
Since 1995, Dr. Diamonstein-Spielvogel has been the Chair of the Historic Landmarks Preservation Center (HLPC), creating a Cultural Medallion program documenting notable occurrences, distinguished individuals and other important aspects of New York City’s cultural, economic, political and social history. Among other programs, the HLPC initiated, created, designed and financed all of the terra cotta street signs in each of New York City’s Historic Districts. Dr. Diamonstein-Spielvogel was appointed by President Reagan to the Board of the United States Holocaust Museum in 1987 where she served as Chair of the subcommittee that commissioned all of the original art created for the museum. She was appointed to the United States Commission of Fine Arts in 1992 by President Clinton. In 2002, Dr. Diamonstein-Spielvogel became the first woman elected Vice Chair of the Commission.
Dr. Diamonstein-Spielvogel is the author of 19 books and the curator of seven international museum exhibitions, each based on one of her books. A current exhibit based on “The Landmarks of New York,” is being circulated by the U.S. Department of State to 62 countries on each of the five continents. Dr. Diamonstein-Spielvogel currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Fresh Air Fund, Friends of the High Line, and the New York State Historic Archives Trust, among others. Dr. Diamonstein-Spielvogel earned her doctorate from New York University, and has received honorary doctorates from the Maryland Institute College of Art and Longwood University in Virginia. She was also elected an Honorary Member of the American Institute of Architects.