Van Wezel Foundation Names Kelli Maldonado Executive Director of Education & Lifelong Learning

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SARASOTA, Friday, February 18, 2022 – The Van Wezel Foundation (Foundation) is pleased to announce the addition of an executive director of education and lifelong learning to its team as the result of a major grant awarded by the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation. Kelli Maldonado, a respected educator and leader in the local, regional and national arts community, assumed the role on Monday, February 14, 2022, and will lead the effort to prioritize lifelong learning at the new Sarasota Performing Arts Center.

“This position, generously funded through the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation, affords the Foundation the opportunity to pursue a goal laid out in our strategic plan – to deepen and broaden the current work in arts education,” said Foundation CEO Cheryl Mendelson. “Kelli is a force in arts education and, with her thought leadership at the Foundation, we are confident we will create one of the nation’s leading lifelong learning centers within the Sarasota Performing Arts Center.”

Most recently, Maldonado served as the director of education and community engagement at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. Prior, she held arts and education positions at Asolo Repertory Theatre here in Sarasota and Manhattan Theatre Club and New Amsterdam Theatre in New York City. Maldonado holds a master’s degree in applied theatre from City University of New York and a bachelor’s degree in theater from Pace University.

“I am grateful to have the opportunity to create, alongside the community, a one-of-a-kind learning program within the new Sarasota Performing Arts Center that will focus on growing and fostering significant partnerships and alliances that will translate the power of the arts into a lifelong love of learning, improved academic outcomes and increased well-being,” said Maldonado.

Education has and continues to be at the core of the Foundation’s mission, and, in her role, Maldonado will continue the Foundation’s 30-year partnership with the Van Wezel Hall and continue to underwrite popular, philanthropic educational programming that serves more than 50,000 students, teachers and families annually, while creating a robust lifelong learning program for the new Sarasota Performing Arts Center.


The Van Wezel Foundation’s mission is to create and sustain a vibrant performing arts center, advance education, and enrich communities by inspiring minds through the power of the arts. The Foundation has partnered with the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall since 1987 to support arts education throughout our region, serving more than 50,000 students and their families annually with enriching arts-based education opportunities and professional development for more than 400 teachers across five counties. The Van Wezel Foundation is leading the vision to build a new Sarasota Performing Arts Center as a public-private partnership with the city, and in collaboration with the Bay Park Conservancy and Van Wezel Hall. To learn more about the new Sarasota Performing Arts Center and get involved, visit For more information on the Foundation and its mission, visit, or join us on Facebook and Instagram.

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