Performing arts center foundation names CEO


Cheryl Mendelson spent eight years as executive vice president and COO at the Harris Theater in Chicago.

Cheryl Mendelson was appointed CEO of the Van Wezel Foundation.

The Van Wezel is a 80,000-square-foot performing arts hall owned and operated by the City of Sarasota.

According to a press release, Mendelson will start in the role in February. She has more than 25 years of fundraising, business development and strategic planning experience, the statement adds.

Her career as a nonprofit executive includes time in education, health care and the arts. Most recently, she was vice president of institutional advancement and chief marketing officer for Erikson Institute, a graduate school in child development. At the Erikson Institute, in Chicago, she led strategy and execution for fundraising, marketing and communications.

Before working at Erikson, she spent eight years as executive vice president and COO at the Harris Theater in Chicago. She was chief architect for the $38 million Imagine capital campaign. She also founded Access Tickets, an arts education program that partners with health and human service organizations and schools.

“The appointment of Cheryl Mendelson is our next step toward realizing our vision of a new performing arts center for our great community,” says Board Chair Mike Martella in a statement. “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.”

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