October 24, 2019


SPACES announces the upcoming departure of Christina Vassallo as Executive + Artistic Director, after nearly six years of leading the organization through tremendous change and growth. She has been named Executive Director of the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia, effective January 2, 2020.

“Christina has done an exceptional job leading our organization,” SPACES Board President John C. Williams said, “and on behalf of the SPACES Board of Trustees, we congratulate her on her new position. When Christina arrived in Cleveland to join SPACES, she was very quickly embraced by the entire community for her energy, enthusiasm, and vigorous support of artists. She led a major capital campaign for our new facility while guiding the team to its remarkable new location. Her leadership, curatorial vision, and engaging demeanor has raised the stature of the organization and will be sorely missed by SPACES and this entire community.”

Attendance, visibility, and financial support for SPACES increased substantially during Vassallo’s tenure. In 2016, she led a team to acquire and design the new home of SPACES in the former Van Rooy Coffee Building. Concurrent with the relocation, she helped to define the artistic vision of SPACES by championing artwork that is politically, culturally, and socially responsive, notably curating issue-oriented group exhibitions that addressed immigration policy (The First 100+
, public trust and cultural institutions (The People’s Museum of Revisionist Natural Itstory), the Second Amendment (America’s Well-Armed Militias), and community-police relations (A Color Removed, with Michael Rakowitz and four local artists, for FRONT International).

“I am proud of the work we—SPACES staff, board, and supporters—have done to raise the organization’s stature as a national leader among alternative art spaces: relocating to our new home, creating grants for Cuyahoga County artists, establishing a creative engagement department that deeply connects Clevelanders to our visiting artists, restructuring the staff to better accommodate our programming needs and reflect the city in which we operate, exposing national art writers and critics to the local scene, and developing a strategic plan that guides SPACES into the future. This work has fundamentally improved the way we serve artists and audience members,” Vassallo said. “It has been fun and gratifying to lead SPACES into new directions and I’m looking forward to watching the vision evolve under new leadership.”

While Ms. Vassallo will maintain her current position until mid-December, SPACES will soon be launching a national search for its next Executive Director.

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