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Interim CEPA director: gallery will emerge 'stronger than ever'

CEPA Gallery visitors take in an exhibition at the downtown art space in 2005. (News file photo)

On Tuesday, the board of directors at CEPA Gallery appointed Sean Donaher, formerly its artistic director, as interim director. The organization has been in turmoil lately because of the resignation of former executive director Lawrence Brose over federal pornography charges.

Donaher, though he will only hold the position temporarily, is both an obvious and prudent choice for a gallery trying to maintain its reputation and poise during what must be an incredibly difficult period. In addition to being the brains behind the Big Orbit Gallery on Essex Street, Donaher has helped to conceive and curate some of CEPA's most compelling recent shows, including "Conversation Pieces," a three-person show featuring Brian Ulrich, Justine Kurland and Alice O'Malley and last the 2008 show "Trans-Evolution: Examining Bio Art," among many others.

As the gallery mounts a search for a new director, we can be reasonably confident that the organization will continue steadily under Donaher's control. The board would also do well to consider Donaher himself as a viable candidate as it seeks to fill Brose's shoes.

In an e-mail to gallery supporters, Donaher made a brief statement on the organization's recent troubles and its immediate plans to deal with them. It follows after the jump.

--Colin Dabkowski

Sean Donaher's message to the community:

A note from CEPA's Staff:

Every organization that has been around for 35 years has gone through its share of trials and tribulations. As many of you know CEPA has been going through just such a period. Through it all, our staff and board have worked diligently to safeguard CEPA's foundation -- our core programs, Visual Arts and Education, and our mission to support contemporary working artists.

And while the past few months have been traumatic, CEPA has initiated strategies that will maintain the high level of organizational and programmatic quality we have become known for as we transition into the future.

Most significantly, CEPA's Board of Directors has appointed me to serve as Interim Executive Director. This new role will come with an increased workload for me and for CEPA's entire staff. I write to you today to tell you that, collectively, we proudly accept and will embrace this challenge.

Mindful of the past, our focus will be on CEPA's present and its future. We will seek the opportunities that lie in every hardship. We will work with our collaborative partners, our funding partners and you to ensure we emerge from this transition stronger than ever.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions, concerns, or insights.


Sean Donaher

Interim Executive Director



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