Cleveland Arts Prize Announces Interim Director

Cleveland Arts Prize announces interim director Aseelah Shareef
Cleveland Arts Prize announces interim director Aseelah Shareef [Mckinley Wiley]

The Cleveland Arts Prize has appointed a member of Karamu House's current leadership team to serve as its interim executive director.

Aseelah Shareef, Karamu's director of operations and community engagement, takes over for departing executive director Alenka Banco.

"Given our COVID circumstances and the uncertainty as to the time when we will be able to resume normal programming, we chose to explore the possibility of hiring an extremely qualified member of our Board, Aseelah Shareef, as an Interim ED,” said Howard Freedman, CAP board chair, via email. “CAP plans to resume its search for a permanent Executive Director at such time as we have a better sense of when and how we will be emerging from our public health crisis."

During the interim period, Shareef will serve in both roles for the two organizations.

“I’m truly excited about this opportunity," Shareef said. "The pandemic has been a reminder that partnership promotes progress and support is an action word. I am grateful to both organizations for working together to make this happen.”

Shareef is also an experienced dancer with Step Afrika! and Cleveland Contemporary Dance Theatre as well as a dance educator with Cuyahoga Community College.

Her interim tenure begins this month as CAP searches for a permanent executive director.

Founded in 1960, the Cleveland Arts Prize awards monetary prizes to individual artists and recognizes arts organizations that have enhanced and advanced the arts in Northeast Ohio.

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