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Newfields trustee leaves in wake of CEO departure

Newfields trustee resigns

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Dr. Sean Huddleston was elected to Newfields’ Board of Trustees in June 2021 and accepted an appointment to the Newfields advisory committee.

Huddleston sent this statement to I-Team 8:

“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.”

During a phone conversation with I-Team 8’s Richard Essex Thursday morning, Huddleston declined to discuss why Dr. Collette Pierce-Burnette left, citing confidentiality.

Late Wednesday afternoon, four members of Newfields board of governors resigned. None of them offered an explanation on why.

The Board of Governors is a non-governing body of volunteers that assist to define programs and events at Newfields.

Dr. Pierce-Burnette’s departure from the 140-year-old art institution is shrouded in mystery. Burnette was the first Black woman to lead the museum. She replaced Charles Venable, who resigned after a controversial job posting that explained one of the job duties as “maintaining the Museum’s traditional, core, white art audience.”

Pierce-Burnette’s sudden departure drew the ire of dozens of protestors and a strong statement against the decision from nearly 20 community organizations.