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Van Wezel Foundation hires CEO

The board announced Cheryl Mendelson, whose previous work includes an executive role at the Harris Theater in Chicago, will lead the foundation beginning in February.

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  • | 11:28 a.m. January 17, 2019
Cheryl Mendelson's work includes experience in the arts, education and healthcare fields.
Cheryl Mendelson's work includes experience in the arts, education and healthcare fields.
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As the Van Wezel Foundation embarks on an effort to build a new performing arts center on the bayfront, it will have a new leader.

The Van Wezel Foundation has appointed Cheryl Mendelson as CEO, the organization announced today. In a release, the foundation highlighted Mendelson’s experience in leadership roles in the arts and education fields.

Mendelson’s previous work includes eight years as executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Harris Theater in Chicago. She most recently served as vice president of institutional advancement and chief marketing officer for Erikson Institute, a graduate school in child development where she was responsible for fundraising, marketing and communications.

In a statement, foundation board Chairman Mike Martella said hiring Mendelson was another step in the pursuit of a new bayfront performance venue, a project expected to cost up to $270 million.

“After conducting an extensive national search, Cheryl’s breadth of expertise in developing successful philanthropic programs, coupled with her experience in growing the Harris Theater in Millennium Park into a nationally recognized venue of artistic importance, made her the perfect choice to lead the next chapter of the Van Wezel Foundation,” Martella said in the release. “Cheryl’s appointment will enable us to achieve our mission to create a world-class performing arts center that enriches the community, supports arts education, and inspires young minds.”

Mendelson will begin her work with the Van Wezel Foundation in February. In the release, she expressed excitement about getting to work alongside Sarasota’s philanthropic community as the foundation focuses on the new facility.

“I am honored to lead the Van Wezel Foundation at such a pivotal time and to expand on the success of the current programs while helping bring to life the vision of a new performing arts center for Sarasota,” Mendelson said in the release.


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