Sarasota Performing Arts Center Foundation Board Announces Leadership Transition


CONTACT: Ashley Bauman; [email protected]


[Sarasota, FL] — Sarasota Performing Arts Center Foundation (also known as Van Wezel Foundation) announced that Chief Executive Officer, Cheryl Mendelson will step down from her position in March to relocate to Palm Beach County due to family reasons.

Ms. Mendelson will continue to work with the Foundation in a consulting capacity and Board Chairman, Jim Travers will extend his leadership role to serve as interim CEO as the Foundation prepares for a national search for a new Chief Executive Officer.

Mendelson has served as the CEO of the Sarasota Performing Arts Center Foundation, Inc since 2019, strategically leading the vision and growth of the Foundation: its mission to create and sustain a vibrant performing arts center, advance education, and enrich communities by inspiring minds through the power of the arts. Mendelson played a pivotal role in deepening the 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 for generations to come.

“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.”  Said Board Chairman Jim Travers. “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.”

“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,” said Mendelson.  “I am confident that the Foundation and the arts and culture community will only continue to reach new heights.”

Sarasota City Manager Marlon Brown said “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.”

Learn More about the Van Wezel Foundation.


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