Wexner Center for the Arts

Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus

Johanna Burton will end her tenure as executive director of the Wexner Center for the Arts Oct. 29 to take on the same role at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, according to a Sept. 2 email by The Ohio State University in Columbus. Megan Cavanaugh and Kelly Stevelt were named co-interim directors Sept. 30 and will lead the institution until a new permanent executive director is found.

Burton, who has led the arts center since early 2019, was lauded for her work by Ohio State’s executive vice president and provost Melissa Gilliam in her email.

“Johanna has advanced ‘the Wex’s’ status as an essential cultural and educational resource for the university and the broader Central Ohio community,” Gilliam said. “While expanding the center’s education, outreach and public programs, Johanna has forwarded its strategic plans and internal infrastructures, and focused on initiatives that address pressing cultural issues such as diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility.”

Gilliam added that Burton’s leadership was essential during the pandemic.

“Even in the face of the challenges posed by the pandemic, ‘the Wex,’ under Burton’s leadership, managed largely to retain staff, rethink organizational structures and practices, and focus on deeply important strategic questions around the center’s mission and sustainability,” Burton said.

Cavanaugh and Stevelt are the right people to keep the institution moving forward until a new executive director is found, Melissa Starker, the center’s creative content & public relations manager, said in a Sept. 30 news release announcing this interim plan.

“Kelly and Megan bring a wealth of experience, which will enable them to together manage the center during the transition period following Johanna Burton’s departure at the end of October,” she said. “It is likely that they will be leading ‘the Wex’ for a period of at least six months.”

Cavanaugh currently serves as the arts center’s COO, while Stevelt is its chief advancement officer.

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