President & CEO
Inner Arbor Trust Inc.
Nina Basu has led the drive to transform Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods, a 51-acre arts and culture park in Columbia, since becoming president and CEO of the not-for-profit Inner Arbor Trust in 2017. The trust was created to develop and manage the park, which is at the center of Columbia’s new arts district and a key piece in developing downtown Columbia.
Basu manages capital projects, negotiates arts and entertainment agreements, and fundraises. She expects 120,000 people to visit the park in 2019, including 60,000 for free, donor-sponsored community arts events.
“My favorite accomplishment is the sense of ownership and excitement for the arts that we have created in young people in Howard County,” said Basu, who was a lawyer for 10 years before accepting her current position. “While the success of the organization is typically measured in our financial statements, I am most proud of the vibrant, excited, diverse and inclusive arts audiences we have created.”
Basu said the key to her success has been taking the ideas of artists and other dreamers and making those ideas reality.
“I describe myself as the boring logistical person in a sea of artists,” she said. “It is my job to see the artistic vision of the park design fulfilled and the artistic visions of performers turned into shows on a stage. I help build dreams.”
Basu is happy to be making a difference in her community. She created the Chrysalis Kids series, free family arts events that run from April to September, with a community service component. In addition, she is a volunteer with other organizations and is on the board of Visit Howard County Inc. and the Long Reach Community Association Inc.
“I have helped create a diverse, inclusive arts park that has provided joy to many people and been embraced by the community,” she said.