Lynda A. Bender biography

Lynda A. Bender
Executive Director

Lynda A. Bender was appointed Executive Director after serving seven years as Director of Education and Public Programs. She is among a small group of staffers who began work at the Museum before it opened in 2005. As Director she leads strategy, planning, outreach and operations, and works with staff, trustees, volunteers and community to develop and expand programs, exhibitions and educational offerings. In her former position at the Museum she launched the Stop the Hate: Youth Speak Out! essay contest, developed interpretive programs and directed school and teacher initiatives, insuring that all programs reflect the Museum’s mission to build bridges of understanding between persons of all religions, races, cultures and ethnic backgrounds.


Prior to her appointment, Ms. Bender served as Deputy Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, leading staff development, organizational planning and fundraising activities; and as Director of the Initiative for Cultural Arts in Education (ICARE) an arts-focused educational partnership between the Cleveland Metropolitan School District and Northeast Ohio cultural community. During Ms. Bender’s tenure ICARE gained national prominence as recipient of Ohio’s largest arts education grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and inclusion in Gaining the Arts Advantage: Lessons from School Districts that Value the Arts, a publication of the President’s Committee on the arts and humanities.


A past member of the board of the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education, Ms. Bender was the first recipient of the Young Audiences of Northeast Ohio’s Arts Educator of the Year Award in 2001. She has served on the panel review committee for the U.S. Department of Education Arts Education Development Grant program and on the Cleveland Metropolitan School District task force preparing district arts standards. In 2008 she chaired the national convention of the Council of American Jewish Museums (CAJM). She studied arts management at Columbia College, Chicago, and received her M.F.A. from Carnegie Mellon University department of drama and B.S. from Bradley University.