Erie Art Museum director faces accusations in New York Times article

Local News

The Erie Art Museum Board of Directors holds an emergency meeting regarding accusation against the museum’s executive director. Josh Helmer is the focus of an article published by the New York Times. Tonight, the Board of Directors indicates these accusations were not known during the hiring process.

The New York Times says in an article that Erie Art Museum’s executive director Josh Helmer has allegedly been reported for multiple inappropriate relationships with women at museums in Erie and Philadelphia. The allegations leaving some local artists questioning what’s next for Erie’a art community.

“I think the allegations are sad. I think it’s tough for the Erie community. There’s a board of directors, there’s really good people on the board. I think they will make a good decision.”

The Erie Art Museum’s Board of Directors met Friday night in reaction to the allegations, releasing a statements which reads in part:

“Prior to offering Mr. Helmer the position at the Erie Art Museum, the board, with the help of an employment consultant, conducted due diligence including background checks. No issues were identified during our due diligence.”

John Vanco, who ran the Art Museum for 50 years, released his own statement, which reads in part:

“I hope the board of directors resolved this quickly by firing Mr. Helmer immediately and then quickly determining a method for creating a new board.”

Members of the Erie Art Industry say it’s important for women to start using their voices in order to change the future ahead. One local gallery owner reacting to what’s alleged in the New York Times article.

“To manipulate and use that authority to really achieve their own sexual gratification is very unacceptable.” said Deborah Vahanian, owner of Glass Growers Gallery.

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