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Leadership Transition at the Philadelphia Cultural Fund

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

July 5, 2022 -- The board of the Philadelphia Cultural Fund announces that it has engaged Caralyn Spector to serve as its Interim Executive Director, effective July 18, 2022 following the announced departure of current Executive Director Barbara Silzle, who will step down from her position on July 15, 2022 to explore other interests.

“The board thanks Barbara Silzle for her 7 years of service to the Cultural Fund and is committed to a thoughtful transition process that seamlessly continues the essential work of the Fund in support of our grantees. The search committee is charged with engaging a permanent Executive Director, and includes: Dawn Frisby Byers, Valerie Gay, Magda Martinez, Ken Metzner, Laneshe Miller White, Kelli Paul and Neville Vakharia. In the meantime, we are excited to work with Caralyn during this transitional period, especially as we distribute FY2022 funds to our grantees. Caralyn is a proven leader with varied leadership experience in the arts, both locally and nationally. Caralyn will work alongside Barbara Silzle until Barbara’s departure, and will then provide day-to-day oversight of the Fund’s staff and work. She will also work closely with the board, City Council and the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy, keeping our nearly 300 grantees at the forefront of our work.” said Magda Martinez, Chair of the board of the Philadelphia Cultural Fund.

City Council recently approved the Cultural Fund’s FY2023 allocation of $3.5M, which allows the Fund to continue to support arts and culture organizations in the city through grant funding.

 Caralyn Spector is a Philadelphia native and resident who has been working in the nonprofit and commercial arts sectors for more than 30 years. Her work has supported organizations, throughout the country, focusing on how cultural leaders, artists, and residents are making the institutions and neighborhoods they live in/serve more joyful, equitable, and welcoming places – places where each person can bring their authentic selves.

Caralyn is a co-founder of Spector|Gay Consulting with Val Gay and the senior managing consultant for The ROZ Group. Prior to consulting, Ms. Spector was most recently a program officer on the Creative Communities team of the William Penn Foundation (2018-2020) where her portfolio focused on operating support for arts organizations across Philadelphia. She also served as Interim President and CEO for DataArts (2017-2018), bringing big data to the arts and culture sector. During the Obama Administration (2009-2017), she served as Deputy and Chief of Staff to the Senior Deputy Chair and the Senior Policy Advisor to the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. She also serves on the Board of Fresh Artists and Culture Works in Philadelphia.

Caralyn received her B.A. from Barnard College and is currently pursuing a Masters in Creative Leadership at the Minneapolis College of Art & Design.

About the Philadelphia Cultural Fund
Established in 1991 to support and enhance the cultural life and vitality of the City of Philadelphia and its residents, the Philadelphia Cultural Fund, through the combined efforts of the Philadelphia City Council and the Mayor, promotes arts and culture as engines of social, educational and economic development and has played a key stabilizing role for numerous organizations by providing much needed general operating funding. Learn more at and follow along on Facebook, Twitter @PhilaCulturFund and Instagram.

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