Sarasota Performing Arts Center Foundation Board announces new leadership
Image via Van Wezel Foundation

Sarasota Performing Arts Center
Cheryl Mendelson has served as CEO of the Sarasota Performing Arts Center Foundation since 2019.

Sarasota Performing Arts Center Foundation CEO Cheryl Mendelson is stepping down in March to relocate to Palm Beach County.

Foundation Board Chair Jim Travers will serve as interim CEO as the organization, also known as the Van Wezel Foundation, prepares for a national search for a permanent replacement, the group announced Monday.

Mendelson will continue working with the foundation in a consulting capacity. She’s relocating due to family reasons, the foundation said. 

“We are grateful for Cheryl’s leadership during the last four years, which have been filled with significant successes and new opportunities, efforts that have enhanced the Foundation’s evolution and positioned us for our next chapter,” Travers said.

“On behalf of the entire Board, we thank Cheryl for her contributions. Our Board, volunteers and professional staff are poised to continue to advance our important work together.”

Mendelson has served as CEO of the Sarasota Performing Arts Center Foundation since 2019, strategically leading the foundation’s mission to create and sustain a vibrant performing arts center, advance education and enrich communities through the power of art. 

Mendelson helped deepen cultural partnerships with the city, Van Wezel Hall, and Bay Park Conservancy to help realize the promise of a world-class performing arts center at the heart of the Bay Park master plan — A transformational legacy project for Sarasota and the region.

“I am honored to have served the Foundation as CEO, collaborating with committed civic and business leaders, and working in partnership with dedicated volunteers and philanthropists who care passionately about the people and institutions that are the hallmark of our community,” Mendelson said. “I am confident that the Foundation and the arts and culture community will only continue to reach new heights.”

Added Sarasota City Manager Marlon Brown: “Cheryl has been a strong partner and advocate, working diligently in all areas from leading the vision for a new Sarasota performing arts center, to fundraising to advance educational programming at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, which has enriched the greater Sarasota community. We thank her for her passion and commitment over the years and wish her well.”

Peter Schorsch

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