Bellevue Arts Museum recently announced the departure of E. Michael Whittington, who was hired on as the Executive Director in March 2022. According to the press release, his choice to step down was due to personal health reasons. His resignation has been accepted by the Board of Trustees.
Whittington was hired in February 2022 due to his strong background in museum leadership, and successful history of transforming organizations at critical stages of growth. He had most recently served as president and CEO of Oklahoma City Museum of Art, where he launched a strategic plan that led to artistic and financial success for the organization.
A statement put out by BAM reads, “He has been a driving force behind the success and growth of the museum during his tenure. His dedication, vision, and commitment to BAM have had a profound impact on our community, but the board understands and respects his decision to prioritize his health.”
During this transition period, the museum has appointed Kate Casprowiak Scher as Interim Executive Director. Kate is a current Board member with curatorial experience, as well as an understanding of the museum’s mission and values.
“We are confident Kate will provide steady leadership and maintain the momentum of our programs and exhibitions,” said Jay Pathy, President, BAM Board of Trustees. He also expressed gratitude to E. Michael Whittington for his outstanding contributions to Bellevue Arts Museum, stating, “His leadership has been transformative, and we wish him good health”.
The previous Executive Director, Benedict Heywood, resigned in March 2021, after allegations of disrespectful treatment toward Tariqa Waters, mostly BIPOC exhibition artists, and others affiliated with the specific exhibition. An open letter was written to the Board of Trustees, documenting the abuses.
BAM stated that they “Remain committed to its mission of engaging people in the power of art, craft, and design. We are grateful for the ongoing support of our community and patrons during this time of change.”