CLEVELAND (September 20, 2022)—The Cleveland Museum of Art’s (CMA) board of trustees has elected Ellen Stirn Mavec as its new chair. Mavec, a trustee since 1991 and an Executive Committee member since 1996, succeeds Scott C. Mueller, a respected leader who spearheaded several initiatives during the pandemic.
“I am excited to welcome Ellen as our new board chair,” said William Griswold, CMA director and president. “As the longest-standing member of the board, Ellen has played an integral role at the CMA. She will be an exceptional leader collaborating with an extraordinary board of professionals all dedicated to fulfilling the vision and promise of the CMA.”
Recognized for her passionate nonprofit leadership throughout the Cleveland region, Mavec delivers compelling and innovative solutions through strategic orchestration. President of the Kelvin and Eleanor Smith Foundation since 1997, Mavec and the foundation have served as visionaries for University Circle, giving more than $100 million to institutions to enlighten capital improvements and encourage innovative programming for visitors and the local community.
Mavec earned a bachelor’s degree in art history from Northwestern University in 1980. She went on to hold roles at the National Endowment for the Arts, New Organization for the Visual Arts (NOVA) and Sotheby’s. Her studies in London and her fascination with objects led Mavec to open the first European decorative arts gallery in Cleveland in 1984. She later purchased an exclusive retail company, Potter & Mellen, known throughout the world for its excellence in design and execution of metalware and fine jewelry. The archives of the renowned Arts and Crafts store are now housed by the CMA.
As a young professional, Mavec joined the Womens Council and helped establish Young Friends of CMA (now Column & Stripe). Active at the CMA since 1991, Mavec has chaired the CMA’s Collections Committee, Nominating Committee and the Transformation Capital Campaign. She also served on the Development, Architect Selection, Campaign Planning, Campus Planning, Building Oversight and Director Search Committees.
“My deep appreciation of art and my love of the CMA began as a child visiting this incredible institution,” said Mavec. “It is truly an honor to step into the role of chair. The steadfast leadership of Scott and his predecessors has helped shape the CMA into a world-class museum. I look forward to working closely with the CMA’s talented board, staff and volunteers to continue this distinguished tradition.”
Mavec succeeds Mueller, whose three-year tenure saw the bequest of the Keithley gift, the largest gift of art to the museum in more than 60 years; the establishment of CMA’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee of the board; the creation of a refreshed strategic plan; and a resilience campaign to offset expenses realized during the pandemic.
“We have accomplished a great deal in the last three years, despite the challenges,” said Mueller. “I am proud of the work we have done and believe that Ellen is the ideal choice. Her dedication to the museum, extensive experience on the board and knowledge of art history give her unique talent to lead the next chapter of the CMA.”
The CMA’s board is composed of 38 local and national arts leaders who help guide and support the CMA in its mission, vision and promise. Members are elected to positions in accordance with the museum’s charter and play an integral role in the life of the museum.
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