Art Museum Chief Resigns After Posting Job Notice Seeking To Maintain ‘White Art Audience’

The Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields’ president is stepping down after the institution created an uproar over a job notice that stated it was seeking a director to maintain its “traditional, core, white art audience.”

According to the New York Daily News, the museum’s board of trustees and board of governors released a statement acknowledging Charles Venable’s resignation that was accepted Wednesday morning (February 17).

“We are sorry,” the statement read. “We have made mistakes. We have let you down.”

The board says Jerry Wise, the museum’s chief financial officer, will serve as interim president.

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The Indianapolis Star reports the job listing came to light last Friday. The racist phrasing appeared on the fourth page of a six-page job description, but by Saturday morning it was reportedly scrubbed.

The Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields also issued an apology on Saturday. “We deeply regret that in our job description, in our attempt to focus on building and diversifying our core audience, our wording was divisive rather than inclusive,” the museum said in a statement.

According to the Star, a curator who was brought on to help diversify the museum’s collection quit in July of last year after describing a “toxic” work environment where there was widespread discrimination.

“We are ashamed of Newfields’ leadership and of ourselves,” the museum’s board said in a Wednesday statement. “We have ignored, excluded, and disappointed members of our community and staff. We pledge to do better.”

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