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Great Lakes Theater "The Merry Wives of Windsor," 2014

strengthening, unifying and connecting greater Cleveland's arts and culture sector

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Tom Schorgl, architect of public funding for Arts & Culture in Cuyahoga County, to retire from CPAC after 20 years

Schorgl to be succeeded by long-time CPAC COO, Megan Van Voorhis

CLEVELAND, OH (June 23, 2017) – After leading the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture (CPAC) for 20 years, Tom Schorgl has announced he will retire from his post as president and CEO at the end of 2017. Schorgl will be succeeded by long-time CPAC Chief Operating Office, Megan Van Voorhis. The board unanimously voted to make the appointment at its June quarterly board meeting today.

“The opportunity to help guide CPAC for 20 years is a high point in my career” said Schorgl in a statement to board and staff. “It has been a deep honor to help Northeast Ohio’s arts and culture sector become rightfully viewed as not just a valued contributor to the region’s development, but as a critical asset worthy of significant public investment. I look forward to sharing my knowledge on these issues with more arts and culture organizations as I move on to the next stage of my career.” 

Schorgl has served as the organization’s president and CEO since 1997. His signature achievements include developing the region’s first cultural plan, the passage and subsequent renewal of a groundbreaking excise tax to support arts and culture in Cuyahoga County, and increasing the influence of arts and culture in the community and economic development realms. 

“Tom has made an indelible mark on the region’s cultural landscape. His perseverance and commitment to serving the arts and culture sector and the public interest has been critical to CPAC and our community’s success over the years" said CPAC Board President Gary Poth, Head of Key Family Wealth, Executive Managing Director, Key Bank.

Arts and culture champions from the throughout the region reflected on Schorgl’s achievements upon news of his retirement.

“Tom Schorgl changed the face of arts and culture in Cuyahoga County by leading the effort to secure meaningful, stable, dedicated public funding for the sector,” said longtime arts advocate Barbara Robinson. “Twenty years ago, there was real concern that we would begin to lose some of the cherished arts assets and institutions that have been so crucial to this region. Now, thanks to Tom, Cuyahoga County is a national model for public funding for arts and culture, and the sector is strong and thriving.”

“We all know Tom’s work that led us to the first ever dedicated source of public funding for the arts; but he's done far more than that,” said Joe Cimperman, president of Global Cleveland and former downtown Cleveland City Councilman. “From helping develop the city’s live/work space legislation, to the ongoing, year-in, year-out research that defined the economic benefit our region derives from the arts and culture sector, Tom has been a huge part of reshaping Cleveland – helping it become one of the nation’s cultural hotspots. Simply stated, this region would not be thriving without his labor. 

“Tom’s impact has been wide-ranging,” said Terrence Spivey, theatre director and artistic associate, Shore Cultural Centre located in Euclid. “He always recognized the value in all of Cleveland’s arts and culture organizations, from largest and oldest museums to small neighborhood theaters. His advocacy work is a contributing factor to why the region’s arts and culture landscape is as diverse as it is today.” 

“In 2017, it’s a common idea around Northeast Ohio that our arts and culture sector is critical to our region’s well-being, but that belief was not nearly as wide-spread before Tom Schorgl arrived here,” said David Bergholz, photographer and former executive director of the George Gund Foundation. “Tom organized the arts and culture sector into a cohesive group that became a force and could advocate for itself while making the case for its prominence in our regional conversations.”

Mr. Schorgl will step down from his position at CPAC at the end of 2017, and will work over the next six months to help transition the organization to Megan Van Voorhis who will become President and CEO on January 1, 2018.

"We're grateful that Tom had the foresight years ago to work with the board to develop a succession plan that identified the organization’s future needs, along with potential candidates to fill those needs. It was immediately clear to the board that CPAC has the best possible candidate for the position in Megan Van Voorhis,” added Gary Poth.

Stephanie Morrison Hrbek, Executive Director of Near West Theater said, “Megan, as someone inside the organization, has been instrumental to CPAC’s development and operations since 2003. Megan is the ideal person to step into position of president and CEO. Having an internal, “organic” leader makes this a perfect opportunity for CPAC’s transition into the future.” 

 “She is a 14-year veteran of CPAC who has provided leadership and oversight for the day-to-day activities of the organization for over a decade. Prior to that, she led CPAC's research and programmatic efforts. She has been instrumental in the organization's public policy efforts, including the development of the arts and culture sector investment models adopted by Cuyahoga County in 2004, the campaigns for public support of arts and culture and advocacy for the admissions tax exemption for small live music clubs, along with the organization's work around the intersection of arts and healthcare. We’re thrilled that she has accepted the position,” concluded Poth.

"I am delighted by the opportunity to lead CPAC into its next iteration,” said Ms. Van Voorhis. “From our founding as a nonprofit organization following the regional cultural planning process in the late 90s, we have filled functional gaps in the arts and culture environment through a unique combination of expertise – research, policy analysis and advocacy, communications, counsel and cross-sector relationship building. I have had the pleasure of working for CPAC during the entire time that those areas were developed, tested and refined. The landscape is changing along with the forces at work in the arts and culture sector. So, as we move forward, we will aim to apply CPAC’s expertise to resolving the concerns the arts and culture sector faces today and those we anticipate it will face in the future.” 

About CPAC

The Community Partnership for Arts and Culture (CPAC) is a nonprofit service organization dedicated to strengthening, unifying and connecting greater Cleveland’s arts and culture sector.  CPAC provides counsel and research to foster a more informed dialogue between representatives of the arts and culture sector and public leaders concerning arts and culture’s role in the region’s development. It also supports the advancement of artists, arts and culture professionals and other civic leaders through an array of programs and services. For more information, please visit www.CultureForward.org.

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