A New Era Begins at Valley Art Center

Valley Art Center Director Rebecca Gruss


After eight years of inspired guidance expanding our programming, spearheading the first sanctioned outdoor mural in Chagrin Falls, forging regional partnerships, planning our fiftieth anniversary celebration, and, oh yeah, navigating a pandemic, Mary Ann Breisch is officially retired and off the clock! Although she is leaving, the work of Valley Art Center will continue on course as the VAC Board has selected Rebecca “Bec” Gruss as the new executive director.

“Bec brings with her a vast professional knowledge of running her own business,” Board President Laurie Dean said. “We look forward to her leadership of VAC.”

Gruss comes to VAC with twenty years in public accounting and six years at be.gallery, her start-up retail art gallery in Chagrin Falls. In addition to her business and art gallery experience, Gruss has held several roles at nonprofit organizations.

LEFT: Omid Tavakoli, Overpolicing: Sea of Cops (detail). RIGHT: Tracy Ameen at work at Valley Art Center

In the spirit of continuing on the paths of collaboration, inclusivity, and equity laid out by Ms. Breisch, VAC is happy to announce our fall exhibit Points of View will include: a partnership with Heights Arts re-exhibiting Posing the Question and hosting Ekphrastacy, along with an Artist Spotlight of internationally-renowned Chagrin Falls pottery artist Tracy Ameen—whose sculpting and double wall pottery can be found at the Smithsonian/Cooper Hewitt Museum, The White House, and The Museum of Modern Design in New York—as well as a historical look at black history in the Chagrin Falls community. Posing the Question, a poignant and powerful exhibit that explored topics of racial equality and the fight for justice was on view at Heights Arts January through March of this year; but unfortunately, it was missed by many due to the pandemic restrictions that were still in place during its initial run.

Rachel Bernstein of Heights Arts had this to say of the partnership: “I am thrilled that Heights Arts will partner with VAC for the upcoming Posing the Question re-exhibition and Ekphrastacy – artists talk and poets respond series. For many years former VAC director Mary Ann Breisch, BAYarts director Nancy Heaton, and I have been brainstorming on ways our common programming and missions could connect. It is wonderful to see our efforts coming to fruition as Mary Ann passes the legacy of this partnership on to new director Bec Gruss upon her retirement. I look forward to seeing where we will go from here!”

VAC agrees!


155 Bell Street
Chagrin Falls, Ohio 44022