February 26, 2019

There's a New Sheriff In Town


The SPACES Board of Directors elected John C. Williams as Board President during its February 11, 2019 meeting. Williams originally served on the SPACES Board of Directors from 1999 to 2010 and was the Board President from 2002 to 2008. An ardent supporter of SPACES for two decades, he is uniquely positioned to lead the organization as it fulfills its current strategic plan, approved by the board at the end of 2018.

“This is a unique opportunity for me to re-engage with an organization that has had my support and my heart for a very long time,” said Williams. “Christina Vassallo has done an amazing job with SPACES in her first five years here as Executive + Artistic Director. The enthusiastic and talented staff, strategic plan, programming direction, and the two new artist funds all bring exciting energy to an organization that has been committed to supporting artists for over 40 years. I’m thrilled to be asked to return in this capacity and honored to help guide SPACES in this new era.”

During his initial term as SPACES Board President, Williams led the organization through two national searches for an Executive Director and the creation of the organization’s first strategic plan in 2010. After his board service, he donated his services as architect and project manager for the design and renovation of the new SPACES, located at 2900 Detroit Avenue, in the burgeoning Hingetown arts district.
Williams succeeds Thomas Starinsky, who has been the Board President for the last four years. Starinsky will remain on the board and executive committee as Immediate Past President. During his term, Starinsky guided SPACES through its relocation. Additionally, he was instrumental in developing the strategic plan and also served on the committee that managed the nationwide search for Executive + Artistic Director, Christina Vassallo, in 2014.

“I am extremely grateful to have led the board through an exciting period in SPACES’ history. With the community’s support, the board and staff worked tirelessly on the relocation and purchase of our new home. As we continue to ignite Northeast Ohio with newly commissioned artworks and public discourse, our strategic plan sets the framework to sustain the next 40 years in the SPACES legacy,” said Starinsky. “John Williams has the temperament, passion, skills, and network that we need for the implementation phase of this plan.”

Leading board engagement that will help support SPACES’ long-term sustainability will be the primary focus of Williams’ tenure. The 2018 – 2022 Strategic Plan, which will serve as the primary guide for this transformation, can be accessed here.

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