The Power Plant, a Toronto-based Museum, saw the majority of its board members resign earlier this week over management issues.
The Art Newspaper reported that 24 of the 27 board members of the museum resigned earlier this week. As per the members who left, the resignation comes due to various issues about the management of The Power Plant by Harbourfront Centre. Harbourfront Centre is a Toronto-based nonprofit organization that oversees much of the management of the museum. The members have brought the museum’s management under question and seek to hold the nonprofit accountable.
According to a joint letter posted by the ex-members on social media:
“Due to Harbourfront’s actions and our current impasse, we have concluded we can no longer fulfill our commitments and duties owed to the Power Plant’s stakeholders, including government stakeholders, funders, artists, the arts community at large and individual supporters of the Power Plant. The independent directors of the Power Plant have no choice but to resign because of the actions taken by Harbourfront.”
The primary trigger seems to have been the June 2nd event when Harbourfront Centre ordered the museum to fire 12 of its board members and replace them with members of the nonprofit. These 12 members included women, Black and indigenous people. This claim was confirmed by a spokesperson at the museum. While not claimed in the letter, it is worth noting that Gaëtane Verna, the director-artistic director of the museum, who led it for a decade, departed it a few weeks ago.
Meanwhile, Marah Braye (CEO, Harbourfront Centre), one of the few board members who didn’t resign, categorically denied the allegations. She said the nonprofit members were only installed on the board as interim measures while new substitutes were searched. She also said that the firing of the 12 members was part of the structural change and claimed that the board team was not meeting regularly to address various issues at the museum. This claim was refuted by actor Richard Lee, who was one of the members who resigned.