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Cuyahoga Arts & Culture Appoints Interim CEO + Executive Director, Begins Search Process

Photo Credit: Bob Perkowski

CLEVELAND (May 14, 2018) – Cuyahoga Arts & Culture (CAC)’s Board of Trustees today took steps to begin the process of searching for its next CEO + executive director at its special Board meeting. 

The Board voted to appoint Jill Paulsen, CAC’s deputy director since 2011, as the interim CEO + executive director effective June 8, 2018. Karen Gahl-Mills, who has served as CEO + executive director since 2010, announced in April that she would be leaving on June 7th.

“The Board is very confident that Jill will provide sound leadership for CAC in this time of transition,” said Joseph P. Gibbons, president of CAC’s Board of Trustees. “In addition to managing CAC’s capable staff as deputy director, Jill’s experience and leadership will ensure CAC maintains strong internal controls and transparency as we work to identify CAC’s next CEO + executive director.”

Over the last seven years, Paulsen has overseen more than $100 million in CAC grantmaking to over 350 organizations. She has more than 20 years of experience in nonprofit management and local philanthropy, having previously held positions at the Cleveland Foundation and the George Gund Foundation. She holds a master’s degree in nonprofit management from Case Western Reserve University and is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Grinnell College.

Additionally, the Board stated that they will undertake a formal search for CAC’s next leader. The Board voted for Trustee Marc Avsec to lead the Board’s discussion of the search process at future meetings. More details about the search and opportunities for public input will be provided as they become available.

CAC’s next regular meeting of its Board of Trustees is scheduled for Tuesday, June 12 at 4 p.m. at Idea Center in downtown Cleveland. The Board will hold a work session about the search process at that meeting.

During this leadership transition, Cuyahoga Arts & Culture will continue to provide uninterrupted grantmaking services and programs. CAC launched its 2019 Project Support program on May 1, 2018. Work to develop new programs to support individual artists also continues.

Cuyahoga Arts & Culture (CAC) is one of the largest public funders for arts and culture in the nation, helping hundreds of organizations in Cuyahoga County connect millions of people to cultural experiences each year. Since 2007, CAC has invested $170 million in 375 organizations both large and small, making our community a more vibrant place to live, work and play. For more information, visit

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