A Statement from the Board of Directors January 18, 2020
In one form or another, the Erie Art Museum has been an asset to our community for over 100 years. The Museum is a collection of art, and also a collection of wonderful members, employees, artists, benefactors, and community-members. Our stakeholders need to be informed of the Museum’s status and future. The purpose of this document is to relay the current plan for the future of the Museum. Short-term
In the short term we are extremely fortunate to have a dedicated and exceptionally gifted staff, a passionate community, and a financial condition that museum has not seen in several years. Board member Diana Denniston has agreed to play an active role in the short-term day-to-day operations of the museum. Her directive from the Board is to attempt to maintain the programs and operations of the museum as they exist today. She will be supported in this role by all of the staff, and we appreciate the staff’s commitment to the Museum.
Diana will not be at the museum full-time, but she will make herself available as much as possible to the staff and visitors of the museum. The staff will continue to work as a team in keeping the Museum the vibrant and successful place that it is. The Board has made, and will continue to make, improvements to ensure the Museum is a great place to work, and that the staff feel safe in voicing their concerns.
The Board will utilize outside resources to work with the staff to address any concerns that they have. We appreciate any and all issues that staff have brought to the Board’s attention. We will continue to promote a workplace of dignity and respect. Given the sensitive nature of the recent issues the Museum has faced, we will not be publicizing any details on the assistance that will be provided. We want employees to feel comfortable in openly discussing any concerns they may have, and we appreciate the community’s cooperation in this regard.
Our goal is to add more voices to the Board and increase this membership to at least 10 Directors. This will take time as we recruit and onboard individuals that can strengthen the Museum as it moves forward. Medium-term It is likely that the search for a new full-time Executive Director will take a long time. The Board believes that appointing an Interim Executive Director is a logical next step. During the prior transition of Executive Directors, a third party consultant advised that hiring an Interim Executive Director was in the Museum’s best interest.
A committee has been formed to begin the search process, and more details will be forthcoming. This is not an issue that should be rushed, especially with such a strong team operating the Museum each day. Long-term While working through the short-term and medium-term goals, the Board will begin the long process of recruiting a new Executive Director. This process will take a considerable amount of time, as the Board works to develop the process, and receive input from consultants, professionals, and the community.
As the short-term and medium-term goals have been the highest priority over the last few days, the Board will be working to develop this piece of the plan more fully in the near future. Given the Museum’s unprecedented financial strength, record membership numbers, and exceptional commitment from its staff, we expect to be able to recruit an outstanding individual to fill this role. For all of these reasons, we have time to make the best decision for the future of the Museum. Focus on the Future No organization can be fully prepared for the recent events that have occurred regarding the Museum. We know there will be more questions, and concerns, about how this will progress. We look forward to receiving input from all of our stakeholders. We are unable to respond to every message, email, phone call, and drop-in visit that we get now. We are grateful that there is so much concern for the future of the Museum. We will provide updates as matters unfold.
The Erie Art Museum is more than just one man. This is a line we have heard over the last week as well as over the last several years. We are grateful to have outstanding staff, wonderful supporters, and a passionate community committed to the future of the Museum. We have a great opportunity in front of us. Our intention is to act swiftly, but not to the detriment of the long-term success of the Museum. Thank you for your patience as we move forward as an organization.
The Board of Directors of the Erie Art Museum Andona R. Zacks-Jordan Heather A. Yahn Nick P. Gianaris Christine A. Crotty Diana V. Denniston Adam J. Williams Dana M. Zaphiris