It’s no surprise that Gabe Pollack, who has been director of the BOP STOP for the past eight years and built it into the distinctive venue it is today, would be recruited by other, bigger organizations — and we already knew that he was being courted by them and worried that he might be leaving northeast Ohio.
Happily, that won’t be happening. The Music Settlement, the BOP STOP’s parent organization, announced on August 22, that he will be leaving a mid-October to take over as the director of performing arts at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Geri Presti, president/CEO of the nonprofit Music Settlement, which owns the BOP STOP, wrote in a press release, “It is with mixed emotions that we announce the departure of our BOP STOP director, Gabe Pollack, effective October 14. Mr. Pollack has been recruited by the Cleveland Museum of Art as their new Director of Performing Arts. The Music Settlement and BOP STOPPERS are deeply grateful for Gabe’s incredible dedication and contributions over the last eight years and wish him well in his next endeavor.”
She goes on to say “He was tasked with integrating BOP STOP into The Music Settlement’s pre-existing curriculum, creating a vision and business plan for the performance venue, and overseeing all aspects of it operation. Gabe has surpassed all expectations and shown extraordinary leadership in growing BOP STOP’s programs, relationships and philanthrophy.”
She adds, “It will be challenging to find a replacement but we are working to identify the right person to fill this role.”
In Pollack’s time with the venue, it has presented about 2,000 shows, including more than 180 Grammy winners and nominees, and was voted Best Jazz Club in America by readers of All About Jazz. It launched its Live at the BOP STOP radio show broadcast on two dozen terrestrial stations and during the pandemic, its state-of-the-art recording facility began livestreaming all its shows, which continues to this day, giving audiences two ways to access the music.
In an interview accompanying the release, Pollack says, “I’m really proud of the creative community that BOP STOP has helped to cultivate. When establishing a new venue owned by The Music Settlement in Cleveland, I wanted to create a space that added something new to Northeast Ohio’s cultural landscape rather than replicate the programming of other establishments. This mindset forged a venue that the community actively participates with and wants to support. BOP STOP has partnered with hundreds of local organizations and the club continuously honors local musicians and local history while also presenting national and international artists.”
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