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Akron Art Museum Director Forced to Step Down Amid Controversy

a photo of akron art museum staff
Mark Masuoka has resigned as director of the Akron Art Museum. Masuoka, seen here second from right unveiling the digital tour guide Dot in 2018, had been with the museum since 2013.

A funding crisis at the Akron Art Museum launched an investigation that has now led to the resignation of Director Mark Masuoka.

In recent months, Masuoka faced allegations of racism, sexism and bullying by museum employees who say he used the pandemic as a way to retaliate against workers who spoke out.

In March, Masuoka announced staff cuts - blaming it on a more than $900,000 shortfall caused by the pandemic.

ArtNews magazine then reported on an anonymous letter 27 employees had sent last year to the museum’s board. It accused Masuoka of “unethical actions and decisions” that drove heavy turnover.   

In the resignation announcement, the museum said the board agreed it was time for a leadership change. Board member Nancy Brennen said she couldn’t comment on the controversy.

“We’d like to thank Mark for the work that he’s done of course in the museum. In the past seven years he brought a lot of innovative things to the museum,” Brennan said.

The museum announced local businessman Jon Fiume will serve as interim director during the search for a permanent replacement. Masuoka had served as director since 2013.

Jennifer Conn joined WKSU in February 2019 as Akron reporter.