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SPACES  |  March 28, 2024

SPACES Announces Appointment of New Executive Director, Fanna Gebreyesus

CONTACT: Ellen Rudolph, SPACES Board Vice President, 216.849.6513,
Marshall Pecora, SPACES Visitor Experience Coordinator, 216.621.2314,

CLEVELAND, OH – After an extensive search, SPACES is excited to welcome Fanna Gebreyesus as its seventh Executive Director.

“We are confident that Fanna’s talent and thoughtful and engaging approach will lead our vital organization forward at a pivotal time,” says SPACES Board President Bill Gagliano.

The profile of the Northeast Ohio organization championing artistic innovation since 1978 has been growing rapidly outside the region. In the past two years, SPACES received the esteemed Joyce Award to collaborate with interdisciplinary artist Julie Tolentino on the development of an experimental performance installation entitled _UNTITLED_ (Queer Futures) and was selected to commission the United States Pavilion of the prestigious Venice Architecture Biennale with the exhibition Everlasting Plastics. That exhibition is currently on view at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and will be featured at SPACES in 2025.

“We want to identify opportunities that arise from our increased exposure while ensuring SPACES’ legacy is honored, its voices amplified and its future assured,” explains Gagliano.

Gebreyesus has a curatorial, programming, publications and arts management background that includes key roles with Baltimore’s social justice-focused NoMüNoMü Collaborative Gallery, as well as the contemporary art Glenstone Museum in Potomac, Maryland. Gagliano says that breadth of experience and Gebreyesus’s passion for community engagement align perfectly with the nonprofit’s mission to be a platform for artists to explore, experiment and challenge the status quo, saying, “Hiring Fanna as our Executive Director speaks to SPACES’ commitment to being an inclusive, welcoming space for all to create and experience cutting edge art.”

Longtime board member and search committee co-chair Angelica Pozo also believes Gebreyesus is joining SPACES at an exciting time in the organization’s evolution: “Personally, I am thrilled that our strongest candidate also turned out to be BIPOC.”

For her part, Gebreyesus sees the history and potential of the organization as powerful and is excited to build on SPACES’ momentum by collaborating with artists, partners and funders while building up her team.

“I look forward to watering SPACES’ strong roots—celebrating accomplishments while looking toward the future,” says Gebreyesus, adding, “Art provides opportunities beyond gallery walls; it can build community and let people feel safe and seen.”

Fanna Gebreyesus assumes her new role as SPACES Executive Director on April 9. She knows that as a steward of the artist network she will need to begin her journey by taking important first steps—listening and learning.

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About SPACES Founded in 1978, SPACES is an alternative art organization based in Cleveland, OH with a mission to serve as the resource and public forum for artists who explore and experiment. The nonprofit serves as a national model for supporting cultural producers by commissioning new works, providing residencies and exhibitions, regranting and serving as a welcoming access point for audiences to experience experimental concepts by hosting workshops, lectures, group tours, and skill-sharing events.

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