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Office for Public Art Announces Election of Inaugural Board of Directors

New organization structure includes name change and office move

Pittsburgh, PA — Office for Public Art (OPA) is pleased to announce the election of its inaugural Board of Directors. This key step is critical to OPA’s establishment as an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, which is anticipated in the coming year. As part of this transition, OPA has changed its name from the Office of Public Art to the Office for Public Art, and has established new offices in The Detective Building in the East Liberty neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Formerly a partnership between the City of Pittsburgh and the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, OPA will be fiscally sponsored by the Arts Council until 501(c)(3) status is conferred.

The members of the inaugural board are:

  • Rachel Saul Rearick, President and Co-Chair, Executive Director of Contemporary Craft
  • Shad Henderson, Vice-President and Co-Chair, Vice President of Equity and Inclusion at Neighborhood Allies
  • Shaunda McDill, Secretary, Producer at DEMASKUS Theater Collective and Program Officer at The Heinz Endowments
  • J. Thomas Agnew, member at large, cultural entrepreneur and Co-Founder of BOOM Concepts
  • Kyle Webster, member at large, General Counsel at ACTION-Housing, Inc.

In its first actions, the newly elected board appointed Sallyann Kluz Executive Director of the organization. Ms. Kluz had previously served as the Director for the Office of Public Art. The board also authorized Ms. Kluz to prepare the filing of Form 1023, the Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code on behalf of the organization.

Originally established in 2005 as a public-private partnership between the City of Pittsburgh and the Arts Council, OPA has operated as a program at the Arts Council with the support of an Advisory Committee and oversight from the Arts Council’s board of directors.

“Our fifteen years of partnership with the Arts Council has been incredibly beneficial to OPA and gave us the opportunity to establish ourselves as a critical component of the region’s arts landscape. At the same time, there has been increased interest in the role of public art and civic design in shaping our region. This has led to phenomenal growth in projects and programs that require a different approach to organizational infrastructure than we can provide as a sponsored program.” said Ms. Kluz. “As an independent organization, OPA will be better positioned to grow and fulfill our mission to serve the needs of artists and communities who seek to catalyze change in the public realm.”

Since its inception, OPA has succeeded in developing a supportive ecosystem for public art in the region, earning a reputation as valued and skilled collaborators, planners, and implementers. This work includes building and growing programs for artist residencies and civic engagement, expanding technical assistance services and educational programs, building capacity for individual artists to pursue and execute public art projects, and creating new audiences for public art.

OPA has a proven track record of working with key civic design stakeholders in the public and private sectors, as well as serving as an important resource for individual artists, nonprofit organizations, and community development groups. In recent years, OPA’s role has shifted from behind-the-scenes collaborator to lead partner for new initiatives in the public realm, including multi-year programs such as Public Art and Communities and the Pittsburgh Creative Corps. In 2020, OPA completed a Strategic Plan that made recommendations for pursuing next steps in the organization’s development, including the move to establish the organization as a nonprofit corporation.

OPA is supported by a combination of philanthropic contributions and earned income from its public programs and technical assistance. Current funders include The Heinz Endowments, Henry L. Hillman Foundation, Opportunity Fund, The Pittsburgh Foundation, the Irving and Aaronel deRoy Gruber Foundation, and Our Town, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.




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