moCa Executive Director Jill Snyder Resigns

Jill Snyder
File image of Jill Snyder speaking inside moCa about exhibits celebrating the museum's 50th anniversary. [Carrie Wise / ideastream]
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Updated 3:27 p.m., Friday, June 19, 2020.

Cleveland Museum of Contemporary Art Executive Director Jill Snyder stepped down Friday, two weeks after issuing an apology for canceling a summer exhibit on police violence.

Snyder is resigning after 23 years at the helm of moCa, which included moving the museum to its current site on Euclid Avenue, near Case Western Reserve University.

“With my departure I embrace this as an opportunity to advance the movement for change that is now sweeping through our culture,” Snyder said Friday in a written statement. “Through recent programming, moCa has demonstrated a desire to work in the territory of inclusion, equity, and community. Now it is time to select a progressive and innovative leader for the next phase in our history who will carry forward this work with new passion. For that new leader to have a seat at the table, I willingly give up my chair.” 

The statement makes no mention of the recent cancellation of an exhibit depicting black victims of police violence, which received national attention

Effective immediately, moCa’s deputy director, Megan Lykins Reich, will assume Snyder's role and Snyder will provide counsel to the museum's board and managers in the coming year as part of the transition.

Last year, moCa celebrated its 50th anniversary season, which included a move to free admission, in an effort to increase access to the museum. The museum’s mission has evolved from its early days, then called “The New Gallery,” as a venue to sell contemporary art. 

Cleveland arts advocate and philanthropist Fred Bidwell said Snyder has been a courageous leader at moCa, including with her decision to step down. 

"I admire her courage. I admire her accomplishments. And I think in some ways she's setting a model for other institutions across the country for change," Bidwell said. 

Snyder and moCa declined ideastream’s requests for interviews Friday.

In a written statement, moCa Board President Larry Oscar said, "the Board expresses its deepest gratitude to Jill for her tireless work on behalf of our institution and for the innumerable contributions she has made for our members, patrons, and the community at large.”

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