116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — The board of the legendary Cedar Rapids arts organization CSPS has picked Jim Miller to serve as its interim executive director after Taylor Bergen stepped down.
Miller assumes the role effective immediately after Bergen, a Realtor, resigned from the position leading the iconic group based in the New Bohemia District to focus on his own business. Bergen’s stint at the helm of the organization marked a significant transition as the group navigated COVID-19 while working toward financial stability following the departure of its founding leaders.
“As a Cedar Rapids native, it is exciting to take on the interim leadership of CSPS,” Miller said in a statement. “For decades, this has been one of the leading arts and culture organizations in the region, and it is an honor to continue strong programming, events and community outreach. I commend Taylor for his leadership over the past two difficult years.”
Throughout Miller’s career, he has led cultural nonprofits that are involved in events and programming. He most recently served as vice president of the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library and was the longtime executive director of the Valley Junction district in West Des Moines.
“Our board leadership team is confident that the vision and mission of the organization will be well served under the direction of Jim Miller,” CSPS board President Monica Vernon said in a statement. “He is already digging in this week and we are excited to be working with him!”
Bergen’s departure comes after the organization in 2021 lost its 501(c) (3) status for failing to file tax returns for three years.
As debt mounted upward of $100,000 in 2019 and threw CSPS leadership in flux, the organization had not filed returns for the 2018, 2019 and 2020 tax years. The IRS informed the group last summer that its 501(c) (3) status that kept it tax-exempt had been automatically revoked as a result.
“The organization is in a great place,” Bergen told The Gazette. “My decision has nothing to do with the health of the organization or the board. I'm excited for the direction that Jim, the new staff and the board will steer the organization. The best is yet to come for CSPS, and I'm thankful to have had a small part in that success.”
Under Bergen’s leadership, CSPS settled more than $100,000 in debts, repurposed retail space in CSPS Hall, the organization’s location at 1103 Third St. SE; and secured grants and private funding while keeping the organization afloat during the pandemic. He began as interim executive director in October 2019, after the resignation of CSPS’ longtime leader and co-founder F. John Herbert, who led the organization under its earlier name of Legion Arts.
“We are sorry to see Taylor go,” Vernon said. “He led CSPS through a tough two years of the pandemic while shoring up CSPS’ financial position. And he shepherded a smooth transition from the founders’ operation, Legion Arts, to the current CSPS. Bergen set the entertainment bar high as he continued to recruit the innovative and inclusive programming for which CSPS is known.”
Vernon said all the Form 990 annual tax returns were submitted in November and the organization is awaiting notification from the IRS that its status may be reinstated. She said the board has implemented policies and stronger oversight of filing tax returns.
“We’re in a waiting game,” Vernon said. “We’ve done everything we can.”
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