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Following the resignation of the CEO, a trustee at Newfields leaves



Indianapolis, Indiana – In June 2021, Dr. Sean Huddleston accepted an appointment to the Newfields advisory group and was elected to the board of trustees.

Huddleston forwarded this message:

“I saw it as an extension of what we do at Martin University every day. I saw an opportunity to help people see themselves in a space that they didn’t know was for them, accepting of them, and supportive of their interests. For Martin, that’s people who have not felt embraced by higher education. For Newfields, it was the museum and gardens. With Dr. Colette Pierce-Burnette’s untimely departure, I feel that my time now needs to be spent focusing on how Martin (and others who may wish to partner with us) can continue that work and further any progress that has been achieved.”

Four Newfields Board of Governors members resigned late on Wednesday afternoon. None of them justified this.

The Board of Governors is a voluntary, non-governing group that helps to define Newfields’ events and programming.

There is uncertainty surrounding Dr. Pierce-Burnette’s resignation from the 140-year-old art institution. Burnette led the museum for the first time as a Black woman. She took over for Charles Venable, who had quit due to a contentious job advertising that listed “maintaining the Museum’s traditional, core, white art audience” as one of the responsibilities.

Following Pierce-Burnette’s abrupt resignation, approximately 20 community organizations strongly condemned the action, and scores of demonstrators took to the streets.