Announcing Russell Etling as Cultural Affairs Manager


The City of Gainesville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department is pleased to announce that Russell Etling has accepted the position as the Cultural Affairs Manager. Etling was selected from a regional and national search that totaled 84 applicants.

Etling attended the Lawrenceville School in New Jersey, and graduated magna cum laude with a fine arts degree in theatre management from the University of Miami, Florida. Etling’s early career included work for Walt Disney Productions and the Shaklee Corporation’s Incentive Convention Shows. He produced and directed a primetime halftime spectacular for CBS television, promoted stadium concerts, staged numerous major fundraising events and was production manager/lighting director for the legendary singer Perry Como’s national concert tours. A member of the Actors’ Equity Association since 1980, Etling has produced, stage-managed or appeared in more than 2,500 live performances with many of America’s greatest performers.

In 1988, he joined the Miami Museum of Science. During his tenure, the museum was accredited by the American Association of Museums. It also became one of the first Affiliates of the Smithsonian Institution, a national leader for training teachers in technology and mentoring low-income, minority youth and a regional resource for threatened and endangered raptor research and rehabilitation of injured birds of prey.

In the area of institutional advancement, Etling has a long history of fostering partnerships and cultivating support from the public and private sectors. In 2002, he created a major new traveling exhibition featuring a world-class collection of more than 250 artworks and artifacts that had been the personal possession of Napoléon Bonaparte, his family or members of his Imperial Court. The Treasures of NAPOLÉON opened in September 2005 at the prestigious National Geographic Museum in Washington, DC and toured significant venues across the U.S.

“I’m sure that by now, many of you have worked closely with Russell on the broad range of projects he has managed since stepping up to serve as interim manager,” said Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Director Steve Phillips. “Since he joined our team in 2011, Russell has been successful in elevating the quality of art exhibited at the Thomas Center Main Galleries, offering visitors not only a memorable and remarkable art experience, but also exhibiting work on loan from contemporary artists as well as private collections, showing art of both established and emerging artists together.”

“With so many new initiatives, Mr. Etling has placed the Historic Thomas Center as the cultural events center for the community and surrounding areas, and has been the force behind the development of the 352Arts Roadmap as the gateway to your cultural community!” continued Director Steve Phillips. “Russell has been amazing in creating collaborations with artists, art groups, and cultural organizations like Shakerag Culture Center, Inc. that make the Jewel Box Concert series possible!”

Etling has devoted his career to entertaining, educating and inspiring audiences on a variety of platforms, and has been active in many professional and civic organizations. His experiences make him exceptionally qualified to provide leadership to the Cultural Affairs Division.