President’s Letter

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Dear Cranbrook Educational Community,  

The turning of the new calendar year, as well as three other milestones this week, offer us an opportunity to reflect backward to the past, and forward to the future.

This week, on January 18, 1904, George and Ellen Booth purchased the farm that would become Cranbrook, home to their ultimate vision of a center for excellence in learning, creation, and innovation. Never doubting Cranbrook’s thriving longevity, the Booths launched an enterprise that would continue to evolve, mature, and include – in addition to its current institutions of the Art Museum, Art Academy, Institute of Science, and Schools – Horizons-Upward Bound, the House and Gardens Auxiliary, and the Center for Collections and Research. As a result of those innovations, Cranbrook would have even greater and wider impact for generations to come.

More important, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, also this week, calls me to reiterate: as we look to our next 118 years, we are committed to a continued, candid examination of Cranbrook’s programs, exhibitions, educational practices, and collaborative partnerships, ensuring that, in every way, Cranbrook programs all are accessible; that they welcome and engage; and that they are relevant and meaningful, guaranteeing a sense of belonging to the widest diversity of constituents and enfranchising the perspective of others from which equitable culture and diverse and inclusive community grow.

With this in mind, I am thrilled to share that joining us at Cranbrook is a colleague who has deep experience in examining an institution’s past and broadening its reach and impact in order to ensure its vibrant future. With the unanimous support of the Search Committee as well as the Academy of Art and Art Museum Board of Governors, and with my endorsement and recommendation, Cranbrook’s Board of Trustees has appointed Paul Sacaridiz the new Maxine and Stuart Frankel Director of Cranbrook Academy of Art. He will begin his work at Cranbrook in May 2022.

Many in the field of art education and craft know Paul from his years as the Executive Director of Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, where he has served since 2015. After a search that yielded a diverse, international pool of candidates, Paul emerged as the ideal fit for the Academy based on his deep experience with community building; advancing Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility (IDEA) initiatives; program development; strategic planning; governance; and fundraising. He is eager to explore how we can couple Cranbrook’s remarkable legacy with new ideas that will afford the Academy a thriving future.

As Paul himself has written, “From the very start, Cranbrook established itself as a place unlike any other with the freedom to explore ideas outside of the traditional structures that guided most other schools. This model is still in place today, as Artists-in-Residence live and work alongside students within a community dedicated to rigorous inquiry and deep creative practice. I am honored to have the opportunity to champion the many accomplishments of the Academy while also asking critical questions about how we can evolve and grow. At the core, I believe our greatest responsibility is to ensure that the work we do here provides a space where artists from a broad variety of backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences feel seen, supported, and valued. To accomplish this, we must be honest about the challenges we face and fully commit to the work of dismantling structural forms of racism, sexism, homophobia, and oppression. This is truly the work of our time.”

At Haystack, Paul led that organization through a remarkable period of growth and evolution. During his tenure, Haystack established long-range planning, implemented new programming, experienced historic fundraising, rebranded communications, and invested in staff positions to increase the reach of the organization. In addition, Paul brings 25 years of experience to Cranbrook, with a broad background that includes art making, teaching, administration, and leadership in higher education and the nonprofit sector. For a more detailed description of Paul's background and this search process, please click here.

I am thrilled to have Paul as a colleague, lending his creative and determined hand to the work which ensures that Cranbrook remains a thought-leader in education and an example of excellence, precisely because our programs are accessible, welcoming, engaging, relevant, and meaningful with the wisdom and the perspective of others.

Paul joins a team that is already hard at work. As 2022 unfolds, I am grateful that our programs – not only at the Academy but also at the Schools, Art Museum, Institute of Science, Horizons-Upward Bound, Center for Collections and Research, and House and Gardens – continue to welcome and fully engage students, visitors, and volunteers with myriad in-person and on-line programs daily. Please click here or download the Cranbrook app for a list of current activities and exhibitions.

Thank you for your support of Cranbrook Educational Community, and the many ways we, today and looking to the future, aim to create, innovate, and inspire.  

Sincerely,

Aimeclaire Roche, President
Cranbrook Educational Community
248.645.3100 | presidentsoffice@cranbrook.edu


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