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Newfields CEO hired after racial controversy in 2022, departs from position

Posted at 6:40 PM, Nov 10, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-11 17:11:36-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Newfields President and CEO, Dr. Colette Pierce Burnette, is departing from her position 15 months after being hired following a racial controversy at the museum.

The art museum made the announcement on Friday with no explanation for Burnette's departure. The Board of Trustees has appointed Michael Kubacki as Interim President and CEO.

“We thank Dr. Burnette for her service to Newfields,” said Newfields Board of Trustees Chair Darrianne Christian. “She helped deepen our relationships with the community and championed the transformative powers of art and nature. We are grateful for her work on behalf of Newfields and wish her well in her future endeavors,” the museum said in a statement.

Burnette was hired as President and CEO after a 14-month long search, followingthe resignation of former president Charles Venable.

Venable resigned after receiving backlash from 100 staffers, hundreds of artists and others in the community in response to a job listing that prioritized maintaining the museum’s “core, white art audience."

Before being named CEO of Newfields in May 2022, Burnette, 65, served as president of Huston-Tillotson University, a historically black college in Austin, Texas since 2015.