The Baltimore Museum of Art forms a search committee to identify the museum’s next director and will solicit community input

The Baltimore Museum of Art’s board of trustees has formed a search committee to identify the museum’s next director, who will replace current director Chris Bedford (pictured here) after he resigns in June. Photo credit: Maximillian Franz/Baltimore Museum of Art.

The Baltimore Museum of Art has formed a search committee to identify the museum’s next director, who will replace current director Chris Bedford after he stepped down in June to lead the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

The search committee will be soliciting proposals from professional firms to facilitate the search and selection process, and plans to contract a firm this spring.

But the search committee is unlikely to select a new director by June 3, Bedford’s last day at the museum, BMA spokeswoman Anne Mannix-Brown told the Baltimore Fishbowl.

“Once a company is hired, it will of course take some time to identify candidates, interview them and make an offer,” Brown said. “It’s a long process. I don’t know the timeline, but I know it won’t be by June. »

Brown said she also doesn’t know who will serve as interim director between Bedford’s departure and the next director’s start date.

Clair Zamoiski Segal, chairman of the BMA board, and administrator Darius Graham will lead the search committee as co-chairs.

“The Search Committee comprises a cross section of the BMA Board, and each member brings different ideas and perspectives to this process,” Segal said in a statement. “I know that each member of the committee is committed to seeing the BMA continue to combine artistic excellence with the values ​​of equity, access and inclusion, and I am confident that together we will identify and attract a leader which will build on the museum’s stellar reputation. ”

In addition to Segal and Graham, the search committee includes BMA trustees Nancy Hackerman, Pamela Hoehn-Saric, Lisa Harris Jones, Fiona Ong, Michael Sherman, Jim Thornton, David Wallace and Kwame Webb.

The museum will also be gathering feedback from the community of BMA staff, members of the Baltimore arts community, and the museum’s partner organizations.

“The BMA is committed to reciprocity with the communities it engages,” Graham said in a statement. “I think including the voices of these communities in this research process honors that idea.”

Although the committee does not include BMA staff representatives, Brown said staff and other stakeholders will be able to provide input into the process.

“How other stakeholders involved in the Baltimore arts community, staff and other organizations will be incorporated is still being worked out,” Brown said. “More will be revealed in the weeks and months to come.”

She added that the committee will launch a nationwide search for the museum’s next director, though that doesn’t rule out applicants from Baltimore.

During his nearly six years at the helm of the BMA, Bedford has set goals to improve diversity and inclusion at the museum.

Among these efforts was a plan to dispose of three major works, the sales of which were to benefit the BMA’s “Endowment for the Future”. The plan garnered both support and backlash, and the museum eventually withdrew its proposal.

Other initiatives included the sale of seven works of art to purchase more works by artists of color and women; a year of exhibitions and programs dedicated to art created by women; and an exhibition organized by BMA security officers, which will open next month.

Bedford also refused to voluntarily acknowledge an effort to organize BMA workers. BMA leaders said they would “work together with union representatives” if workers had a majority vote to form a union.

Some members of Baltimore’s arts community have advocated for the next BMA director to be black, given that the majority of the city’s residents are black.

Brown said the committee is still very early in the process.

But she added “the goal is to find the best director for the BMA and for Baltimore. I’m sure the committee will do everything possible to make sure that happens.

Marcus Dieterle
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