As part of an ongoing partnership between the Oral History Center and the Getty Trust, we recently conducted an interview with a former member of the J. Paul Getty Trust Board of Trustees: Peter J. Taylor.
Peter J. Taylor is president of ECMC [Education Credit Management Corporation] Foundation, and served on the Board of Trustees for the Getty Trust from 2005 to 2017. Mr. Taylor grew up in Los Angeles, California, and attended University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) in the 1970s. He is a graduate of the Coro Fellowship Program and completed his master’s degree at Claremont Graduate School. Taylor then worked as legislative staff for California Assemblyman Mike Roos. He transitioned to finance and worked for the Lehman Brothers until the 2008 Recession. Taylor served as the CFO of the University of California from 2009 to 2014, and then joined ECMC Foundation in 2014. In addition to the Getty Trust, Taylor has served on the boards of the James Irvine Foundation, the UCLA Alumni Association, the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, and has been a member of the California State University System Board of Trustees since 2015. He was previously Alumni Representative on the University of California Board of Regents, and was chair of the UCLA African American Admissions and Retention Task Force.
Taylor’s oral history interview offers insight into the management of the Getty Trust from the perspective of a trustee, as well as the challenges and successes of steering such a large arts organization. Taylor’s background in education and serving on the boards of other nonprofits bolstered his confidence in taking on the many challenges of the Getty Trust, though he admits he had little previous exposure to visual arts.
When Taylor joined the organization in 2005, the organization was facing an antiquities scandal, was the subject of an investigation by the California Attorney General, was struggling with internal management, and was receiving bad press from media outlets. The 2008 Recession also posed a problem for an arts institution that relied upon its endowment. With his background in finance, Taylor was an obvious choice for Chair of the Audit Committee, and helped lead the organization through the many difficult discussions about budget cuts and institutional priorities. Listen as Taylor recounts how the Recession impacted the Getty:
Taylor also points to the significant strides the Getty Trust has made in creating greater public impact through exhibitions that speak to the local community, education programs that bring more children to the museum, and providing more resources online – especially Getty images. In fact, he counts the move towards open content as one of the greatest achievements during his tenure as a trustee. Listen as Taylor discusses pushing for more open access resources at the Getty Trust:
Explore Peter J. Taylor’s oral history and learn more about the mission and history of the Getty Trust!