Newfields President Resigns Amid Outrage Over 'White Art Audience' Job Posting

Feb 18, 2021

The president of the Newfields art campus in Indianapolis resigned Wednesday after dozens of staff members signed a petition calling for him to go.

Museum officials said they accepted Charles Venable’s resignation Wednesday morning.

The petition followed a job posting for a new director position that referenced maintaining the Indianapolis Museum of Arts’ “core, white art audience.”

The Newfields statement said CFO Jerry Wise would serve as interim president.

The institution said an independent committee would conduct a review of Newfields' leadership, culture and boards. It said it would also expand exhibitions and programming for and by Black and other marginalized communities and conduct anti-racism training.

On Saturday, the institution expressed regret for the job listing that said the museum was seeking to "attract a broader and more diverse audience while maintaining the Museum's traditional, core, white art audience".

The San Francisco-based m/Oppenheim executive search group posted the ad in January.

It has since been changed to say the museum seeks to “welcome and embrace a more diverse audience” while maintaining its “traditional core art audience.”