Saturday, May 09, 2009

rude, crude, and nasty: secular nonprofit executive director struts her stuff

There’s a certain tacky, money-grubbing desperation pervasive in the secular nonprofit arena in Ohio, and Marcie Bergman’s conduct representing us as executive director of The Cleveland Arts Prize (CAP) points that up. The Prize has too distinguished a history and is too good a concept to have to endure this sort of hired representation; it’s time for a more gracious face for the organization.

It appears from a cursory examination of the CAP’s forms 990 over at Guidestar (register and sign in for yourself, membership is free) that they certainly could have afforded to provide native son and enfant terrible Harlan Ellison a plane ticket and lodging. It also appears that Marcelle Bergman’s compensation was equal to 1/10th of the endowment amount in 2007; hereafter to be known as Madame Shekelgruber, she had a part-time job of 20 hours a week and received $44,997 for that in 2007. In 2006 and 2005, the compensation for executive-director leadership was significantly less, but that actually misses the point: Paying anything at all for this type of representation is just too, too expensive.

Let’s see if Harlan showcases a new character based on his recent experience with Madame Shekelgruber. Go, Harlan; if anybody can do it, it’s you. And as I’ve been fond of saying lately, “Welcome to Cleveland; now go home.”

Harlan Ellison turns down Cleveland Arts Prize -


  1. OMG! What a sad day for the Arts Prize! Madame Shekelgruber needs to be hung out to dry. The Board needs to wake up to a clearer understanding of its responsibilities and priorities. They can begin by "cleaning out" their own rank and file leaving those to serve who have respect for artists and understand the significance of this award to the Cleveland arts scene.

    Next, search for a capable person to fill the (empty) executive position, someone who has the savvy and skills to graciously administer this prestigious award. The artists who are nominated, and those who are chosen to receive awards, deserve to be honored, not used. Clevelanders and their artists do not deserve to be disgraced further by Madame Shekelgruber!

    It appears that until this year, she was not alone at the wheel; someone was helping her and/or covering her mishaps, someone with skills who understood navigation, the arts and artists. Without that expertise, Madame Shekelgruber effectively sunk the ship! My condolences, Clevelander’s!

  2. I like that: "honored, not used." Would that you weren't anonymous.

  3. Excellent Article. I think one think about the Prize is that it has too distinguished a history and is too good a concept to have to endure this sort of hired representation.