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The Hunt Is On for a New Cleveland Museum of Art Director

Tuesday, October 22, 2013 at 6:47 PM

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CMA Trustee Fred Bidwell is the museum's interim director

The search is on for a new Director of the Cleveland Museum of Art, after yesterday's sudden resignation of David Franklin. ideastream's David C. Barnett has more on the plans to find his replacement.

During his three-year tenure, David Franklin was behind some dramatic changes at the Cleveland Museum of Art.  He introduced iPads and a 40-foot interactive wall of images to help visitors understand and appreciate the collection.  He oversaw the opening of the museum’s majestic Atrium space, as well as the launch of a satellite gallery, Transformer Station, on the city’s westside.  The announcement that he was leaving took many by surprise, and the Museum’s Board of Trustees quickly tapped one of their own --- Fred Bidwell --- to fill Franklin’s shoes, in the interim.

FRED BIDWELL: I have a lot to learn about what’s going on operationally.  So, I’ll be spending my time in the next few days in departmental meetings and talking to as many of the staff as possible.

The museum is nearing the end of an eight-year, 350-million-dollar capital improvement program that still has about 97-million-dollars to go, and some major exhibitions are coming up, but Bidwell says nothing is dropping off the schedule.

David Franklin’s exit is the third “sudden departure” the museum has endured over the past eight years. Katherine Lee Reid retired for family reasons in 2005, Timothy Rub left for a directorship in Philadelphia, in 2009, and now Franklin is gone, citing a desire to pursue research and writing.  Still, Bidwell is optimistic about finding a new director who will stay.

FRED BIDWELL: Finding a CEO for any organization is always a challenging process, but this job being the CEO for the Cleveland Museum of Art has never been more attractive.  Some of the best people in the business, worldwide, are polishing their resumes right now.

The museum’s search committee is still getting organized.  Bidwell figures the hunt will take six months or more.


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