Press Release

Association of Art Museum Directors to Meet in Cleveland

New York, NY

Meeting marks the launch of the Association’s centennial; program includes public panel discussion on diversity and inclusion hosted by the Cleveland Museum of Art

The Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) will hold its annual meeting in Cleveland, Ohio, from Saturday, May 21 to Tuesday, May 24, 2016. This will be the final meeting under the Presidency of Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole, Director of the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of African Art. At the conclusion of the meeting, Cole will be succeeded as AAMD President by Brian Ferriso, Director and Chief Curator of the Portland Art Museum. In addition to the Cleveland Museum of Art, the group will visit the Akron Art Museum, MOCA Cleveland, and the Allen Memorial Art Museum.

The annual meeting marks the launch of the centennial of AAMD, and the deepening of its commitment to advancing excellence in the museum field, and advocating for its members and the importance of the visual arts. The Cleveland Museum of Art, also celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, is one of AAMD’s twelve founding members who established the organization in 1916 as a forum to share ideas and foster the development of art museums. 

An important focus of AAMD at its centennial—and for the future—is supporting its members in their work to increase diversity throughout the field. The meeting in Cleveland will feature a series of workshops, presentations, and discussions on diversity and inclusion. A public panel discussion, “Arts and Culture in a Changing World,” will be held on Monday, May 23 at 5 p.m., hosted by the Cleveland Museum of Art. The forum will explore the challenges, strategies, and opportunities for fostering diversity and inclusion in the art museum community. The discussion will feature:

  • Moderator: Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator, The Studio Museum in Harlem
  • Panelist: Jeff Chang, Executive Director of the Institute for Diversity in the Arts at Stanford University and author of Who We Be: A Cultural History of Race in Post-Civil Rights America
  • Panelist: Cathy Winter, Program Manager, DiverseCity onBoard, Global Diversity Exchange (GDX) at the Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University

This event is free and open to the public, and admission will be on a first-come, first-served basis. The discussion will be live-streamed at

In addition to committee meetings, visits to cultural institutions, and informal sessions, AAMD’s annual meeting will also include the following programs:

  • Changing Demographics: William H. Frey, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institute, demographer and author of Diversity Explosion: How New Racial Demographics are Remaking America, will present on urban populations, migration, immigration, race, aging, and political demographics.
  • Unintended Bias: VallotKarp, a management consulting firm specializing in developing and integrating diversity and inclusion initiatives into organizational practices, will lead a workshop on unintended bias. The workshop is designed to help AAMD members understand how biases can impede an organization’s ability to attract, retain, and develop a broad pool of top talent.
  • Changing the Game: New Models, New Leaders, New Ideas for the Arts: a TED-style presentation with speakers including Sina Bahram, accessibility consultant and researcher, and co-founder of Prime Access Consulting; Amanda Figueroa, co-founder of Brown Girls Museum Blog; Ravon Ruffin, co-founder of Brown Girls Museum Blog; and Fari Nzinga, Public Policy Officer at the New Orleans Museum of Art.

AAMD is pleased to welcome Vivian Ebersman, Director Art Expertise at AXA Art Americas Corporation. The subject of Ebersman's presentation is "Challenges for Loans and Exhibitions: An Insurer's Perspective."

AAMD is continuing its partnership with the United Negro College Fund to organize and implement a multi-year, nationwide program to support students of color pursuing careers in the art museum field. UNCF fellows are invited to participate in AAMD annual meetings, including the meeting in Cleveland, to contribute to the exchange of ideas and build their professional networks.

The Association was invited to hold its meeting in Cleveland by directors of three member institutions in the region: Mark Masuoka (Akron Art Museum), William M. Griswold (Cleveland Museum of Art), and Andria Derstine (Allen Memorial Art Museum).

The 2016 meeting will have an active social media presence with attendees encouraged to live-tweet and Instagram their experiences with the hashtag #AAMDCLE.


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