SPACES Names Thomas Starinsky As Its New Board President

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Last week, SPACES’ Board President John Farina was named ARTneo’s next Executive Director. With the announcement came promise of more news from SPACES. While Farina has been actively involved in both organizations for years, his four-year term as SPACES Board President has reached its end. Last week, SPACES’ Board of Directors elected Thomas Starinksy as Farina’s replacement. SPACES also announced that Michelle Epps has been promoted to the new position of Community Engagement Manager.

“Serving as SPACES Board President has been an honor and one of the highlights of my community involvement,” says Farina. “SPACES continues to be a vibrant force in the Cleveland arts community and is in extremely capable and talented hands under the leadership of Tom and [Executive Director] Christina [Vassallo].”

Starinsky has been a member of SPACES’ board since 2011, and has served as Vice President of their Building & Relocation Committee since 2013. He is the Associate Director of the Historic Warehouse District Corporation and Historic Gateway Neighborhood Corporation. His responsibilities include overseeing the organizations’ economic development work, as well as urban planning, design and infrastructure work. Most recently, he developed Small Box, a retail initiative which repurposes used shipping containers into small retail spaces in the Warehouse District.

“SPACES carries a legacy of thought-provoking exhibitions that both pushes boundaries and inspires,” says Starinsky. “It has been a pleasure to be a part of a board that is dedicated to the SPACES mission, and I am excited to play a leadership role in growing our legacy as we seek a new location.”

While SPACES continues to search for a new home, Starinsky’s background makes him an obvious choice to help guide the organization forward into the future.

“SPACES is lucky to have such experienced and talented people filling these positions,” says SPACES’ Executive Director Christina Vassallo. “Tom will continue the work he’s done to bring SPACES to a location that will heighten our visibility, accessibility, and relevance to the community. In her new role, Michelle will help SPACES focus on shaping meaningful visitor connections to our programs and the organization.”

Michelle Epps also has a longstanding relationship with SPACES, working as their Office Administrator since 2012. In her new role as Community Engagement Manager, Epps will draw upon her background in museum education to help SPACES create more engaging experiences and interactions with visitors.

“We recognize that SPACES has always served two distinct audiences, artists and the general public, and I am looking forward to helping strengthen our connection between the two,” explains Epps.
Since 1978, SPACES has presented work from over 9,000 artists in its three headquarters: Playhouse Square (1978-81), the Warehouse District (1981-90) and the Superior Viaduct (1990-present). Stop by their current home before Friday, Jan. 16 to see Irina Spicaka’s Process, Colin Lyons’ Automatic Ruins and more. Be sure to check their website for info on their projects and events for 2015.

SPACES is located at 2220 Superior Viaduct, in Cleveland, OH. Gallery hours are Tuesday - Sunday: 12 – 5 p.m., and the gallery is open until 8 p.m. on Thursdays. Admission (and parking) during regular gallery hours is free and open to the public. For more information, visit, call (216) 621-2314 or email [email protected]
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