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Opening In Cleveland: Director’s Job — UPDATED

Sadly, I must report that David Franklin has resigned as the director of the Cleveland Museum of Art. Here’s the notice I received from one of his supporters — subject line was “bad news from Cleveland”:

Dear Supporting Circles Donor,

Because of your important relationship with the Cleveland Museum of
Art, I am writing to make sure you are aware of today’s CMA Board
announcement that David Franklin has resigned his position as Director
of the Museum, effective immediately. David’s decision was a personal
one so it isn’t appropriate to provide additional detail on the
reasons for his departure.

We have named Trustee Fred Bidwell, a nationally known art collector
and creator of the Transformer Station, as interim director of the
Museum. We believe Fred’s unique combination of business experience
and passion for museums and collecting makes him a great choice to
lead the Museum during the search. As you may know, he is the retired
executive chairman of JWT/OgilvyAction, a national advertising agency
serving leading brands. In addition to being a trustee and member of
the Executive Committee of the CMA Board, he has twice been president
of the Board of the Akron Art Museum. Earlier this year he and his
wife Laura were awarded the Cleveland Arts Prize Martha Joseph Award
for Distinguished Service to the Arts.

Thanks to the Museum’s world-class team, we have accomplished a great
deal in recent years. We are in excellent shape and are financially
strong, and our recent renovations have left us with a facility and a
collection that are the envy of Museums around the world. This will
clearly be one of the most attractive positions in the field and we’re
confident we’ll find a great leader to continue our momentum.
Museum Trustee and prominent Cleveland executive Peter Raskind will
lead the search committee. We will begin looking for a new Director
immediately but there is no timetable for completion. David has agreed
to be available, at Fred’s discretion, to help with select projects
during the transition.

Thank you for your continued support of the Cleveland Museum of Art.
If you have any questions, please call Fred Bidwell at xxx-xxx-xxxx*
or me at xxx-xxx-xxxx at your convenience.

Kind regards,

R. Steven Kestner
CMA Board Chairman

I have no comment at this time. but I don’t think RCA readers should use those phone numbers above. 

UPDATE: Here’s a good wrap-up of the situation, with background, from Crain’s Cleveland Business.

*I have blacked out the numbers above at the request of the museum.


  1. the nameless eye says:

    Why is a trustee serving as interim director? I would think that would be a conflict of interest.

  2. Interested says:

    There’s apparently a story behind this story … see comments on

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