CLEVELAND, Ohio – After hiring Grafton Nunes as its president to Boston eleven years ago, the Cleveland Institute of Art is hiring its successor from within.

The board of directors of the four-year independent art school announced on Wednesday that it has appointed Kathryn Heidemann, Vice President for Academic Affairs of the CIA and Faculty Dean since July 1, 2022, to succeed Nunes.

Nunes, who joined the college in 2010 from Emerson College, where he served as the founding dean of the School of the Arts, announced his resignation in June.

“I think the board made a very, very good choice,” he said earlier this week in an interview with The Plain Dealer and cleveland.com.

Nunes called Heidemann “someone who really listens, who really listens to what is being told to her and who is attentive and simply has a feel for the reality around him.”

For the past two years, Heidemann, who will hold the title of President and CEO, has helped develop the art college’s most recent strategic plan and led the successful reaccreditation and academic COVID-19 planning that led to a safe return to university last year have led. Person instruction.

Heidemann, 43, will be the college’s first female president in more than 100 years after founding presidents Harriet Kester (1882-1891) and Georgie Leighton Norton (1891-1919).

“I’m incredibly excited,” said Heidemann. “I still have 10 months before I can get in, and I still have time to use up everything I need to learn from Grafton, my fellow mentor.”

Heidemann came to Cleveland from Pittsburgh, where she was Deputy Dean of the College of Fine Arts at Carnegie Mellon University and the Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy.

Heidemann comes from Detroit and grew up in Australia, Venezuela and Germany.

Heidemann, worked at Carnegie-Mellon from 2011 to 2019 and completed a number of positions, including as Deputy Dean of the Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy and Director of the Master of Arts Management Program.

She has also held positions at the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Edinburgh Festival Fringe and the Chicago Academy for the Arts.

She served as the Mayor-appointed Arts Commissioner for the City of Pittsburgh and served on the board of the Association of Arts Administration Educators and Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area.

Cynthia A. Prior-Gascoigne, chairwoman of the CIA board of directors, said Heidemann was selected in a national search for her vice-presidency at the art school with the notion that she would be the next president before the board knew about Nunes’ Retirement provision.

“We had hoped that through this search we would meet our needs for the successor to the president, when all the stars match,” said Prior-Gascoigne. “We have always been aware that any institution is best when it has a strong bank.”

For her part, Heidemann said she knew that a successor to Nunes was possible, but “there were certainly no guarantees”.

She said the opportunity to serve as president at the CIA was not because it wasn’t a factor in her move to Cleveland. “Knew it might be a possibility, but there were certainly no guarantees.”

The Cleveland Institute of Art, founded in 1882, is a leading college for art and design that is on par with other institutions of its kind in the USA

Its curriculum is based on rigorous training in traditional basic skills such as drawing to enter careers in graphic design, animation, industrial design, illustration, handicrafts and visual arts.

Since 2010, Nunes led a successful $ 75 million capital campaign paid to consolidate and modernize the college campus in the Uptown development in University Circle.

College enrollments averaged 595 over the past 11 years, from a low of 534 in 2010 to a high of 670 in 2018 and is expected to drop between 550 and 560 this fall, Nunes said.

One of the college’s biggest future challenges is that falling birth rates and family decisions to delay raising children have reduced the number of high school graduates seeking admission, Nunes said.

“Every year we have fewer and fewer 18-year-olds and this is becoming a significant problem in all higher education,” he said.

Heidemann said she would consider meeting the challenge by further diversifying the college’s student body, which includes non-traditional, senior students, and adding courses with an emphasis on arts-related economics and entrepreneurship.

She said she wanted to focus on civic engagement in Cleveland as well.

“We have a responsibility as a college to do whatever we can to make sure the people in Cleveland are involved,” she said.

In addition to her professional activity, Heidemann is a bassist who has played in rock, metal, punk and country bands for more than 20 years, the college announced in an email.

“She’s still actively playing and recording. Your current band, Garter Shake, a “Riot Grrrl” alternative pop / rock band, “said the college. The group played at Cleveland’s Grog Shop in 2019, the year Heidemann arrived in Cleveland.