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INDIANAPOLIS —  The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art has appointed its new president and CEO: Kathryn Haigh.

Haigh comes to the Eiteljorg from an interim director and chief operating officer position at the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfield. Prior to this new appointment, Haigh worked at the IMA since 2007.  

In her new post at Eiteljorg, Haigh will oversee the museum’s operations and a $40 million endowment, while managing a staff of 50 and 250 volunteers.  

She’ll also be intimately involved with managing relationships with the Native Americans whose art occupies Eiteljorg’s walls as well as Indigenous visitors to the museum. 

“It is important that museum collections reflect the cultures and experience of the communities that they serve in order to be relevant,” Haigh said in a statement. “It is the responsibility of museums to not only show artwork that is representative of different cultures, but to also extend an invitation to underserved communities to visit the museum, understanding that not everyone feels welcome.”

Haigh said the Eiteljorg appointment was a chance to continue “foundational programs” such as a contemporary art fellowship, the Quest for the West Art Show and Sale, the Indian Market and Festival, and the Juneteenth and Jazz Community Celebration.

In her new role, she hopes to expand touring exhibitions, secure new commissioned artwork from Native artists, and build relationships with other institutions by way of exhibit loans. 

Haigh takes over for departing president and CEO John Vanausdall effective June 30. Vanausdall managed the Eiteljorg for more than 26 years, announcing his departure last August. Vanausdall recently completed a five year capital endowment campaign entitled “Project 2021” that secured more than $55 million in cash and pledges.

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Chez Oxendine
Author: Chez OxendineEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Chesley Oxendine (Lumbee-Cheraw) is an Oklahoma-based reporter for Native News Online and its sister publication, Tribal Business News. His journalism has been featured in the Fort Gibson Times, Muskogee Phoenix, Native Oklahoma Magazine, and elsewhere.