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Arts Award Spotlight: Farooq Kathwari

Over the past month, ArtsNews has highlighted the winners of its annual Arts Awards, which recognize people and organizations that have had significant impact on the arts and culture sector in Westchester County. All awardees will be all honored at a luncheon on April 19.

Farooq Kathwari | Emily & Eugene Grant Arts Patron Award

Farooq Kathwari has been the president of Ethan Allen Interiors, Inc. since 1985, and chairman and CEO since 1988. He serves in numerous capacities at several nonprofit organizations, including ArtsWestchester, for which he is a member of the Board of Directors. Kathwari is the author of Trailblazer: From the Mountains of Kashmir to the Summit of Global Business and Beyond, a memoir published in September 2019. The book focuses on his journey from Kashmir to America, his association with Ethan Allen, and his involvement with conflict resolution and humanitarian causes.

Kathwari is a citizen of the world, having been brought into his family’s arts-and-crafts business at the age of 13 and from there honing his keen eye for beautiful design, along with his marketing and business acumen. What began with 12 wicker baskets of Kashmiri arts and crafts, led to a career that is devoted to design, quality and something his customers can live with every day.

With a business degree in Marketing from New York University, Kathwari climbed the ranks of Wall Street at Rothschild & Co., becoming CFO at the young age of 27.  From 1973, when he partnered with Ethan Allen in a joint venture, he focused on this company – eventually becoming its president and CEO by 1988.  Since then, his vision has led Ethan Allen to become one of the most respected businesses in the country, with 75% of its products are produced in North America.

Kathwari was recognized as an Outstanding American by Choice by the U.S. government. But looking beyond national borders, he is committed to international causes such as the International Rescue Committee; the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Council on Foreign Relations; Refugees International; the Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council; and the International Advisory Council of the United States Institute of Peace.  Above all else, Kathwari is a family man, a philanthropist, and a visionary business leader who represents the embodiment of the American success story.