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New Leadership at Cleveland Art Museum After Some Turbulent Years

Tuesday, May 20, 2014 at 10:24 AM

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William Griswold will be the10th Director of the Cleveland Museum of Art

The Cleveland Museum of Art has appointed it's 10th director. William Griswold, who currently holds a museum post in New York City, emerged as an unanimous choice after an international search. ideastream's David C. Barnett explains.

53-year-old William Griswold has spent over 25 years in the museum world.  He began as a staff member at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, with subsequent stints in Los Angeles and Minneapolis, and 13 years with the Morgan Library and Museum in New York. 

Cleveland Museum trustee Peter Raskind was in charge of the search committee that unanimously chose Griswold.  Raskind says dozens of candidates were screened for what is a complex job.

PETER RASKIND: It’s a very significant enterprise, from managing the budget and the people, to raising money, to community engagement.

Griswold says he’s up to the task and looks forward to reaching out beyond the museum’s marble walls.

WILLIAM GRISWOLD: The museum itself has to be welcoming.  The experience of visiting the museum has to be relevant, exciting, and memorable.  But, the museum also has to reach out and offer educational opportunities, and art-making opportunities in the community.

Griswold’s appointment comes after the abrupt departure of David Franklin last fall.  He left after it was revealed he had lied about an extra-marital relationship with a museum employee who later took her life.  But, over and above that scandal, the Cleveland Museum of Art has seen a great deal of turnover, with four directors, plus interim leadership, over the past 15 years.  William Griswold says he plans to stick around.

WILLIAM GRISWOLD: There is a lot of movement among museum directors, these days, but I’ve done enough of that.  I’m coming and I’m hoping to stay until my retirement.

The museum says Griswold will start his directorship early this fall.

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