Cranbrook Academy of Art appoints Paul Sacaridiz as new director

After eight months of nationwide research, the Cranbrook Educational Community has named Paul Sacaridiz, senior administrator of the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Maine, as the next leader of the Cranbrook Academy of Art.

Sacaridiz, who has served as executive director of Haystack since 2015, will join the Cranbrook Academy of Art as director of Maxine and Stuart Frankel, beginning in May.

He will succeed COO Rod Spearin, who had served as interim director since May 2021, when former director Susan Ewing retired after leading the academy for two years.

Sacaridiz brings 25 years of experience in artistic creation, teaching, administration, and leadership in higher education and the nonprofit sector.

Under his leadership, Haystack has increased its endowment to more than $24 million, from $9 million when he joined the organization, to support the school’s programs, scholarships, operations, and campus preservation. of craftsmanship.

Cranbrook said earlier this month that he plans to focus on significantly growing his endowment or permanent or board-designated and directed reserves.

Haystack’s annual fund has also seen unprecedented growth under Sacaridiz, setting records for the amount raised for five consecutive years, Cranbrook said in a statement.

During her tenure at Haystack, Sacaridiz also led the development of a strategic plan and long-range campus planning process and, during the pandemic, developed free online programs with more than 4,000 views of participants from 38 countries. Under his leadership, Haystack created 50 new scholarships to support BIPOC students and completed major studio and infrastructure upgrades to the historic campus.

Sacaridiz brings a long history of successful collaborations, partnerships and inclusive practices to Cranbrook, said Aimeclaire Roche, president of Cranbrook’s educational community, in a statement.

“The future of arts education requires leaders who are willing to take risks and find new ways to bring additional voices into the studio. This is the only way the arts can continue to be a true reflection of our shared experience, and we are grateful that he will bring these talents to the Academy.”

Prior to Haystack, Sacaridiz was a professor and head of the art department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and earlier in his career, associate director of the Wonsook Kim School of Art at Illinois State University.

He was a member of the National Council of Arts Administrators and has extensive experience on nonprofit boards, including the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts and the Craft Emergency Relief Fund.

Through her work at Haystack, Sacaridiz has proven to be a passionate leader in initiatives surrounding cultural equity, said Jennifer Gilbert, chair of the board of governors of the Cranbrook Academy of Art and Art Museum, in the release.

“We are confident he can chart a new course for the Academy as we re-examine how we teach art, architecture and design,” she said.

An accomplished sculptor and ceramicist, Sacaridiz holds an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a BFA from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. He is also an alumnus of the School for American Crafts at the Rochester Institute of Technology and has completed several large-scale projects for the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Denver Art Museum, and the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, among other institutions.

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