Lyn (Tiefenbacher) Pentecost graduated from The Cooper Union School of Art in 1970. She is community leader dedicated to improving the lives of low-income youth and their families. Lyn Pentecost has orchestrated many successes over 30 years, predominantly in her own neighborhood in New York City’s Lower Eastside.

With initial funding from Cooper Union, she co-founded and was the first director and development officer of The Children’s Art Workshop, a pioneering program in the community arts and education movement of the 1970s and ‘80s. From there she moved to the education department of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, designing and implementing community outreach programs. As a board member and chair of the board for Coalition Housing for 8 years, Dr. Pentecost was responsible for the development of hundreds of affordable housing units on the Lower East Side.

Dr. Pentecost is a serial social justice entrepreneur. She co-founded the Lower Eastside Girls Club in 1996 to fill a dearth of options available to the community’s 16,000 girls, one third of whom live below the poverty line. Guided by Dr. Pentecost’s skill at building organizational capacity, the Girls Club has flourished in the delivery of high-quality services.

In 2013, having raised $20 Million from the public and private sectors, she presided at the opening of the newest community center in lower Manhattan- a facility-based institution promising multiple, forward-thinking services to benefit girls, their families and the greater community of New York City. 

Dr. Pentecost holds a BFA degree from The Cooper Union School of Art where she studied photography, graphic design and architecture. There she had the opportunity to study with two very different visionary architects, John Hejduk and Paolo Soleri, and is now thrilled that a building of her own founding purpose and design has been constructed in her community.

Dr. Pentecost received her Masters degree in Visual Anthropology and Doctorate In Urban Anthropology from Temple University, She taught as an adjunct professor for four years in the Department of Anthropology at the City University of New York and ten years in the Metropolitan Studies Program at New York University. She studied with anthropologist and filmmaker Jean Rouch and conducted fieldwork in Mexico and New York City. Her ethnographic documentary digital films are in the collections of the New York Public Library, The Museum of Modern Art NYC, The Musee de L’Homme, Paris, the National Museum of Art, Tokyo, Museo Na Balom in Chiapas, Mexico, and university libraries throughout the country.

Dr. Pentecost has been active in and sat on the boards of several community organizations. They include: The Lower Eastside Hispanic Housing Coalition, Children’s Liberation Day Care Center, and The Collegiate Church Corporation of New York. She currently sits on the advisory board of Camp Fowler in the Adirondack Mountains.

On a more personal level, her commitment to the future of New York City runs deep, being a pioneer ‘homesteader’ in the 1980’s. Known as Lyn Tiefenbacher during her Cooper years, she is proud to be the mother of another generation in the Cooper family, Mickey Pentecost, who graduated from Cooper Union Engineering in 2003.


Dr. Lyn Petecost will receive the Peter Cooper Public Service Award from the CUAA in May 2019.

Additional Information

Girl Power, The Cooper Union . January 10, 2018

Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice, The New York Times. January 15, 2003.

Lyn Pentecost Executive Director and Cofounder of the Lower Eastside Girls Club (, Time Out New York. November 28, 2013.