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Community Members To Help Supervise Selection of New Cuyahoga Arts and Culture Leader

Board chair Charna Sherman named Gary Hanson as the agency's liaison in the search for a new CEO (David C. Barnett / ideastream)

A committee of Northeast Ohio community leaders will oversee the search for a new person to lead Cuyahoga Arts & Culture (CAC) after the recent departure of former executive director Karen Gahl-Mills.  CAC distributes cigarette tax revenue to support arts and cultural activities in Cuyahoga County.

Several members of the community group were introduced at CAC’s board meeting Wednesday night, including Cleveland Museum of Art trustee Helen Forbes Fields, Akron Art Museum CEO Mark Masuoka and Cleveland Playhouse managing director Kevin Moore.  The broadly based group also includes Cleveland City Club CEO Dan Moulthrop, Gund Foundation senior program officer for the arts Jennifer Coleman and Esperanza executive director Victor Ruiz.

Also in attendance at the CAC meeting were two representatives from the Boston-based executive search firm Arts Consulting Group (ACG), which is under contract to conduct the search. Newest board member Gary Hanson will serve as CAC’s liaison in the effort, and he estimated that a candidate for the executive director position will be presented for board approval next spring. Jill Paulsen is CAC's interim executive director. 

The CAC board also approved spending $400,000 as part of the agency’s efforts to revamp the process for supporting individual artists.  The money will be distributed to six non-profits across the community to help artists with such things as professional development and providing access to studio space.  A portion of the funding is also due to provide a yet-to-be-named amount of grant money for artists.  One member of CAC’s Support for Artists Planning Team, Vince Robinson, said after the meeting that his biggest concern is that artists get a fair share of the money.

CAC staff members aim to have a precise breakdown of the funds by the board’s November meeting.

ideastream receives funding from Cuyahoga Arts and Culture

David C. Barnett was a senior arts & culture reporter for Ideastream Public Media. He retired in October 2022.