On August 3, the Cultural Data Project bid a fond farewell to Director Neville Vakharia. In September, Vakharia will join the faculty of Drexel University’s Arts Administration program as a tenure-track professor and research director.
Vakharia joined what was then called the Pennsylvania Cultural Data Project in 2005 as its first full-time staff member. Himself an alumnus of the Drexel Arts Administration program, he oversaw the evolution of the CDP from a fledgling initiative incubated within Drexel, through its residency at The Pew Charitable Trusts, to its current status as a new national standard for the arts and cultural sector. In his new position, Vakharia will have the opportunity to lead and publish important research, consult with arts funders and advocates, and assess the future needs of our sector, in addition to educating the next generation of arts leaders.
“I have always believed that knowledge is transformational,” says Vakharia. “It can transform people, organizations, and society as a whole, and it was this belief that led me to the Cultural Data Project. My vision was for the CDP to become a national source of knowledge that could truly strengthen our sector. Seven years later I now see that vision as a reality.”
The CDP’s upcoming transition to an independent nonprofit will put the organization in an even stronger position to serve the arts and cultural community. With the recent election of a 14-member national board, a search is underway to select the CEO who will lead the newly independent CDP. Securing this new leader is among the board’s top priorities, along with crafting the strategic business plan for the next several years.
Vakharia remains committed to supporting the future of the CDP, and happily we will remain neighbors and colleagues in both Philadelphia and the national arts and cultural sector. On behalf of the CDP staff, board, and partners, we wish Neville great success in his exciting new position.