After the recent storm at the Indianapolis Museum of Art over a job listing, its president Charles Venable has now resigned.
The controversy erupted last week when screenshots of a particular job listing at the Newfields-based museum went viral. The listing included the responsibility of maintaining the “traditional, core, white art audience” of the museum. Many outraged at the racist and discriminatory nature of the listing, and the museum soon altered it to remove the word “white”. However, even the immediate apology could not calm the situation and a petition to remove Venable garnered over 1500 signatures.
After Venable’s resignation, the museum’s website carried the following message from its board of trustees and governors:
“We are sorry. We have made mistakes. We have let you down. We are ashamed of Newfields’ leadership and of ourselves. We have ignored, excluded, and disappointed members of our community and staff. We pledge to do better.”
The message also said that the board will create an independent committee to investigate the leadership at Newfields. Furthermore, the message pledged to increase the diversity in Newfields’ staff. It is worth noting that this was not the first time that discrimination was alleged at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. In July last year, associate curator Kelli Morgan resigned and wrote an open letter to Venable, which cited toxic and discriminatory work culture at the museum. More recently, after the viral job listing, a group of 102 museum employees collectively sought Venable’s departure.
Charles Venable joined the Indianapolis Museum in 2012. He had previously held leadership positions at Speed Art Museum (Louiseville) and Cleveland Museum of Art (Ohio). Over the years, he has faced criticism over his management, particularly regarding the excessive focus on financial gains.