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News . Feature Stories . The Cleveland Institute of Art Announces Grafton J. Nunes as New President

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March 26, 2010

The Cleveland Institute of Art Announces Grafton J. Nunes as New President

The Board of Directors of The Cleveland Institute of Art announces Grafton J. Nunes as the Institute's next president, effective July 1, 2010.

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Mark Inglis, Vice President of Marketing & Communications, CIA
Office: 216.421.7403
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For Immediate Release: March 26, 2010
Image Attached, Additional Images Available Upon Request

CLEVELAND: The Board of Directors of The Cleveland Institute of Art announces Grafton J. Nunes as the Institute’s next president, effective July 1, 2010. Nunes is currently the Dean of the School of the Arts at Emerson College in Boston. He was unanimously elected by the CIA board at a meeting held late Thursday, March 25.

Grafton Nunes


“We are delighted that Grafton has accepted the leadership of The Cleveland Institute of Art,” said Gary R. Johnson, Chair of the CIA Board of Directors. “Grafton is an engaging and inspiring institutional leader who brings energy, vision and a strong, proven commitment to arts education.”

As founding Dean of the School of the Arts at Emerson, Nunes established what has become the larger of Emerson’s two schools. Over the last 12 years the school has grown to national prominence, with 3,000 students taught by 111 full-time and 150 part-time faculty members. During his tenure there, he raised $15 million to fund artists in residence, student scholarships, master teachers and new state-of-the-art facilities in theater, film, television, audio and photography.

Prior to his time at Emerson, Nunes served for 22 years at Columbia University in positions of increasing responsibility, concluding his tenure there by serving as associate dean of Columbia’s School of the Arts. At both Emerson and Columbia, Nunes was centrally involved in the development, implementation and fundraising for extensive capital projects including a $77 million complex of theaters, residence halls and classrooms at Emerson.

“I am thrilled to be joining this world-class educational institution and honored that I will be leading one of the nation’s top colleges of art and design. I look forward to working with CIA’s exceptional faculty, staff, and strong community partners to build on an extraordinary tradition in arts education,” said Nunes.

As the 10th president of The Cleveland Institute of Art, Nunes will succeed David L. Deming, who announced in October 2008 his plan to retire within two years. A 1967 CIA graduate, Deming returned to lead his alma mater in 1998 after a 26-year career at the University of Texas. Deming added the first Digital Arts major to the Institute’s curriculum, increased fundraising, oversaw the transition from a five-year to a four-year BFA program and spearheaded CIA’s campus modernization and unification project. The campus project, now underway, includes the extensive renovation of the historic Joseph McCullough Center for the Visual Arts and the planned construction of a new building immediately west of it.

“We are so grateful for David’s visionary leadership over the past 12 years. He has dedicated his career to promoting the visual arts and art education. He leaves us with quite a legacy,” said Johnson.

Nunes will lead the nationally acclaimed independent school of 500 undergraduate art and design students and oversee the second half of the construction project that will unify the Institute’s campus. Under his leadership, the Institute will also complete the capital campaign to fund the campus project.

“We were looking for a candidate with proven success in building academic programming in arts higher education, recruiting top faculty, and enrolling exceptional students on a national level. Grafton brings an outstanding track record in all those areas,” said Johnson. “In addition, his work at Emerson helped to revitalize a Boston neighborhood. I know Grafton looks forward to applying that experience to building on CIA’s role as an important partner in the growth of our region’s economy.”

The national search for a new president was conducted by an internal presidential search committee with the assistance of SpencerStuart, an international executive search firm. Over the past several months, the committee held several meetings with various stakeholders including faculty, staff, students, alumni and community leaders.

Nunes is a graduate of Columbia University with an MFA in film history, theory and criticism, and an M.Phil. in theater history and film studies. At the College of the Holy Cross he received his BA in English and religion. In addition to his work in higher education, Nunes has had an active career as a film writer and producer, including his production of the film The Loveless, directed by this year’s Oscar winner for Best Director, Kathryn Bigelow.



The Cleveland Institute of Art is an accredited, independent college of art and design committed to nurturing the intellectual, artistic and professional development of students and community members through rigorous visual arts and design education. The Institute makes enduring contributions to education and extends its programs to the public through gallery exhibitions; lectures; a continuing education program; and The Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque, a nationally acclaimed art and independent film program.

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