Michelle Weitzman // Watchdog photo by Starr Sariego

An outspoken member of the Asheville Art Museum’s board, the only current trustee to speak publicly about employee complaints of mistreatment, was ousted from the board Tuesday and removed as a museum volunteer.

“I don’t do this lightly,” said Paul Saenger, chair of the museum’s Board of Trustees, according to a recording of the board meeting obtained by Asheville Watchdog. “It’s our responsibility to … promote the health of the museum and its mission. But I feel like that has been compromised on numerous occasions by Michelle Weitzman.”

Saenger told Asheville Watchdog that as far as he knew, the museum, established in 1948, had never removed a trustee. 

Weitzman, who until Tuesday had also been a volunteer docent leading tours of the museum, engaged in a “pattern of disruptive behavior,” Saenger said in the meeting. 

He said Weitzman had disrupted board meetings and had inappropriate communications with staff. He said an Asheville Watchdog investigative story last week, in which Weitzman was quoted supporting ex-employees who complained of a “toxic” workplace, had “tainted the image of the museum.”

As a “final straw,” Saenger said, Pamela Myers, the museum’s executive director, “and a couple of others were threatened” at a museum party the night of Nov. 10. “I think they felt threatened anyway, physically, and they were verbally attacked.”

Saenger allowed Weitzman an opportunity to respond at the board meeting before she was banished. Weitzman addressed the incident at the party by saying it occurred at the end of the evening with “very few guests at the museum.”

Weitzman said a museum patron, Monica Krider, “had wanted to share her thoughts with Pam” about the Watchdog story. “I showed her where Pam was,” Weitzman said. 

But it was Krider, not Weitzman, who confronted Myers — in front of board member Robert Benites. Krider told Asheville Watchdog she did not threaten anyone.

“That’s absurd,” Krider said. “I’m sorry that having a frank conversation that you didn’t want to have seemed like an attack. It was not an attack.” 

Weitzman said at the meeting she was being punished for standing up against the mistreatment of employees. She said that former employees had told her, unsolicited, that they were “still experiencing nightmares, PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder] and continual therapy” from their experience working at the museum.

“This is no joke. This is not a game to me,” Weitzman said, adding that she had raised concerns about employee mistreatment with Saenger; with the previous chair, Herbert “Butch” Patrick Jr.; and with board vice chair Kevin Click, the chair of the human resources committee.

“I wrote recommendations, and I was dismissed, so I went through proper channels before putting my name and my reputation in the public view,” Weitzman said.

She said the foundation of the museum was not its collections but rather the “people who make the everyday possible. The high attrition rate is simply bad business.”

“You’re focusing on me and refusing to focus on the problem, Pam’s leadership inability,” Weitzman said.

She described the board as “hand-picked and curated” supporters of Myers, who has been director of the museum for 27 years.

She urged her fellow trustees to ask for Myers’s resignation and to find a new executive director.

Instead, board member Benites made a motion “that Michelle be removed from the board.” 

Trustee Cites ‘Cancel Culture’

Benites said he was “terribly distressed” by the incident at the party. He then deferred to trustee Gary Zahler, who joined the virtual meeting late. 

Zahler mentioned “an issue,” an apparent reference to employee complaints about Myers’s management dating to at least 2015. But Zahler also referenced “all the good work.” 

The board has stood by Myers, 65, largely crediting her with raising $30 million in a capital campaign that spanned well over a decade. A renovated and expanded museum opened in 2019 in a glass building that is now a landmark downtown, and the museum has an endowment of more than $6 million.

“I think this cancel culture has gone so totally out of control, and I think that’s exactly what Michelle is dealing with,” Zahler said, “not recognizing the fact that all the good work that had gone on before, that there was an issue, and because of that, Pam should be canceled. I think this is horrible.”

Zahler added that he was supposed “to be making the motion” to remove Weitzman, “but obviously I got on a little too late … I would like to second that motion.”

Saenger then polled the trustees. All voted in favor of removing Weitzman.

“We’ll certainly take everything you had to say to heart, Michelle, as we always have,” Saenger said. 

Weitzman said she wanted to make clear that she was not the one confronting Myers at the party. “I hardly said anything. The patron was in her face, not me.”

“We’re clear,” Saenger replied. “I think we’ll move on with our agenda now. And I’m sorry to say, Michelle, you’re no longer on the board. You’re no longer a volunteer.”

‘Appalled’ – Reaction Comes In 

After the meeting, Weitzman told Asheville Watchdog she believed her removal was retribution for challenging the museum’s leadership.

“Inappropriate behavior? What, because I spoke up?” she said. “They’re not hearing. They don’t want to hear. They orchestrated it all.”

Weitzman had volunteered at the museum since 2016 and held a seat on the board as president of the Docents Association. After the meeting, she sent an email to the docents, writing that she had been removed “as a result of standing up for museum staff for the last year, within the Board of Trustees and most recently on record with the AVLWatchdog.org article.”

Nancy Ferguson, a 30-year museum volunteer and former trustee, told Asheville Watchdog, “I was appalled to learn of Ms. Weitzman’s dismissal. All I can say is this is not the museum that I have known and loved for so long.”

Doubling Down 

Candace Reilly, one of six former employees who complained to the trustees in 2015, told Asheville Watchdog the board had a chance to “do the right thing,” but chose to support Myers. 

“Given these extreme circumstances and the weight of what’s happening inside that museum, it is clear they are continuing to choose one person over the health of the institution,” Reilly said. “This is what was decided seven years ago, and it is the same today.”

David Huff, one of five museum board members who resigned in the spring, said the trustees were “doubling down” by removing Weitzman. 

“No one on that board even bothered to come to Michelle’s defense and say, ‘Well, wait a minute. Is there not something to this?’ ” Huff said.

Chair Equates Behavior to Vandalism

Employee complaints have been a source of discord on the museum board. As Asheville Watchdog reported, the board has twice brought in an executive coach — in 2015 after the six complaints to trustees, and again in 2021 after eight other ex-staffers voiced their concerns to Huff and board member Darren Green. 

The work environment is “beyond toxic,” Huff and Green wrote in a 2021 summary. “The word used by three former staff is ‘traumatic.’ ” 

Kevin Click, the board vice-chair and a former human resources executive, said in a written response to questions from Asheville Watchdog that Myers “has been very positive about the coaching and feedback she is receiving.” 

“I believe we are on a solid path forward,” Click wrote.

But some trustees felt the board should do more, such as hire an administrator to run the day-to-day operations and free Myers to focus on fundraising and larger issues. Three of the board members who resigned in May, including Huff and Green, told The Watchdog the treatment of employees and the board’s response was a factor in their decision to leave.

Weitzman was the only current trustee who agreed to be interviewed for the Watchdog investigative story and was quoted saying the museum “looks really pretty on the outside. But the culture of fear in employees, the morale and the attrition is horrendous.” 

In ticking off Weitzman’s “pattern of disruptive behavior” at Tuesday’s board meeting, Saenger, the chair, said, “I don’t see in any way how this benefits anyone or anything about the museum.”

“I liken this behavior to what the vandals are doing defacing the museum,” Saenger said.

Vandals altered the sign at the museum last week // photo submitted by reader

Last week, the letters in the museum’s sign were altered from “Asheville Art Museum” to “A He ll Art Museum.” Asheville Police spokeswoman Samantha Booth said Wednesday she could not locate a police report on the vandalism.

After the vote to remove Weitzman, Saenger said, “I would just underscore that it’s just not appropriate to take things into your own hands. This should be more a group effort.” 

Weitzman responded that she attempted “a group effort” and failed. 

Emails Show Concern for Employees

Emails provided by Weitzman show she raised employee concerns beginning in March 2022. In one email to Click, the chair of the human resources committee, and then board chair Butch Patrick, Weitzman wrote that fear of being fired “has created a large morale deficit compounded by the inability to speak up.”

She asked for “immediate action” and wrote that “there have been issues and concerns for a long period of time.”

Weitzman pressed on after Saenger became the chair, asking for more information on employee complaints, staff exit interviews, and the executive coach that had been brought in for Myers and senior leaders, emails show.

Saenger responded in an Aug. 9 email that “while it is important that trustees are informed as to staffing needs, etc., personal details are restricted by state and federal policy.” 

“I cautioned you on direct contact with staff,” Saenger wrote. “You said to me you will not stand down on this. I’m hopeful you will stand up and see that while your efforts are to you for the good of the museum, they are proving counterproductive.

“If there are additional episodes of improper staff involvement, I will bring this to the trustees to consider your continuing on the board.”

On Monday, Nov. 14, the day before Tuesday’s board meeting, Saenger wrote to Weitzman, “In accordance with the bylaws, I am giving you notice that given the inappropriate behavior when you and your companions verbally attacked and intimidated Pam and others at the members event I will request a discussion as to your continuing to serve on the AAM board. I will ask for your dismissal as a board member and museum volunteer.”

What Happened at That Party?

The museum held a member appreciation party Nov. 10, the day after the Watchdog story appeared. Monica Krider, a realtor, attended as a guest of Gretchen Lewis, who is also a realtor and a museum member.

Weitzman was part of a group who had gathered on the second floor to talk when Krider, whom Weitzman said she had just met, said she’d like to speak with Pam Myers, according to Weitzman. 

Asheville Watchdog spoke separately with Weitzman, Lewis, and Krider the day after the event.

Krider said that she “was disturbed” by what she had read in the Watchdog story. “It’s not even just about the people who work there who were hurt by someone’s tactics and approach,” Krider said. “It’s also about what it looks like for Asheville, all of us.”

Weitzman and the group moved to the first floor, where Myers was standing with trustee Bob Benites. 

Krider said she asked Myers about the Watchdog story, and Myers declined to discuss it, saying, according to Krider, “You’re in my house.”

“I never heard anyone speak with such divine right,” Krider said. 

She returned to the group, and Lewis approached Myers. Lewis said that Myers told her, “Now is not the time,” but did not say when she would be available to speak. Lewis said Benites intervened, defending Myers.

Asked for comment, Benites wrote that after “significant discussion” the board had decided to “have all communications be with the chair.”

Krider said she felt the response to Lewis was “not right” and approached Myers a second time.

Krider said she told Myers, “ ‘Why do you think you can just stonewall people who are really struggling to understand your role and some of what’s been going on here?’ ” 

According to Weitzman, Benites “got defensive and said, ‘I don’t think this is appropriate,’ and Pam said, ‘I’m hosting a party.’ ”

Weitzman said Krider was shaking her finger at Myers but stopped when Myers asked her to. Krider, according to Weitzman, “continued with her rant about a terrible way to run an organization.”

A woman Weitzman identified as Lindsay Rosson, director of finance and operations at the museum, removed Krider’s wine glass from her hand and asked her to leave, according to Weitzman, Krider and Lewis.

The group, including Weitzman, left. 

“Every request was honored,” Krider said. “ ‘Leave,’ I did. ‘Stop wagging your finger,’ didn’t even notice I was doing it.”

Krider said all Weitzman did “was tell me where Pam was standing and repeat something she had already apparently said that working for her is really difficult or however she worded it.”

“Terribly, Terribly Upset”

At the board meeting Tuesday, Benites said he was “terribly, terribly upset” by the incident.

“In all of my life, I’ve never been in a situation where there was such hostility, and I actually felt physically threatened,” Benites said. “I tried to stand in front of Pam. It was just very upsetting to me.”

Saenger said in the meeting, “If you’ve read Lindsay’s report or spoken to others, I think it’s clear this was grossly inappropriate behavior by a trustee … And this was in the midst of an event for members in the atrium of the museum.”

Asheville Watchdog requested the report Saenger referenced and any videotape of the incident. Saenger responded, “We do not believe it would be appropriate to share incident reports or security videos.”

Sarah Reincke, president of the Docents Association before Weitzman and a former trustee, said she believes the board “was trying to find any excuse to rid themselves of a Trustee who consistently voiced valid opinions the Executive Committee refused to consider.”

Reincke said Weitzman “was not the person who reprimanded Pam” at the party, “and she is not responsible for how another person expresses an opinion.”

The board used “the actions of a third party as cause for Michelle’s dismissal,” further proof, Reincke said, of the museum’s “dysfunctional leadership.”

In a statement to Asheville Watchdog, Saenger wrote that the museum does “not comment on trustees who leave the organization.”

“If the board feels it necessary to ask a trustee to step down before the end of their normal term, it is not a matter we take lightly, but with the best interest of the museum in mind,” Saenger wrote. “We have never censored or disciplined a trustee for expressing differing views or opinions. Healthy and productive debates are beneficial to any organization.”

Saenger also wrote that the board has “complete confidence in Pam.”

“This team, led by Pam, has built an outstanding institution,” Saenger wrote. “It is a cornerstone in this art-rich town that we can all be very proud of.”  

Asheville Watchdog is a nonprofit news team producing stories that matter to Asheville and Buncombe County. Sally Kestin is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter. Contact her at skestin@avlwatchdog.org.

53 replies on “Trustee Who Criticized Director Is Ousted from Art Museum Board”

  1. Sounds like fish is in fact rotting from the head down. How do we get rid of Myers and her bootlickers on the Board?

  2. This series of stories, with its tone of personal attack, is not helpful, either to the museum or to Asheville Watchdog. It’s clear that Ms. Myers has the support of the museum’s board.

    1. I BET she does since, as the story states, she has packed the board with her supporters. The top-down arrogance (“You’re in my house”) is appalling and is too typical of what happens when a former backwater city gains some fame, albeit largely through tourism. The old powers get nervous and forget decency, all in the name of saving “the good work we’ve done” when it’s actually their own egos they’re defending and their positions of prestige and public notice they’re clinging to.

      1. Yes, John Grooms! I couldn’t have said it better myself. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your support.

    2. Yeah because ALL THE BOARD CARES ABOUT is all the $$ that she raised, and they care nothing for the underpaid/unpaid ’small people’ she bullied and abused over the years.

  3. After getting a million or more from the City, is the Art Museum still enjoying public funding? If so, time for a review/investigation to assist the Board in seeing the light? For the record, I am canceling my membership.

    1. If the city and/or county are providing significant support to the museum, it would seem appropriate that they have presence on the museum board.

  4. My long time experience with organizations tells me that this situation will fester and not go away. Reports by employees of mistreatment, and authoritarian management should always be regarded and investigated. A board that shuns this responsibility will lead to the demise of the organization. I, for one, will have no interest in the Art Museum until this issue is addressed and employees are given a voice. It is a simple matter to learn what employees are experiencing and feel.

  5. Once again, the wealthy establishment of Asheville shows that they will brook no questioning of their “divine right to rule”. Not only the board of the art museum, but many other institutions do not have the least consideration of the rest of the population, and refuse to hear any input, particularly if it’s negative to their established order. Its a shame to the city to continue to support these overly entitled people.

  6. Having been a consultant to dozens of major medical centers, large and small hospitals; as an active member of various boards; as an active supporter of the Asheville Art Museum for 19 years and a retired AAM board member; and along with my spouse substantial donors of funds and art , I am distressed and appalled over the treatment of Michelle Weitzman ,as revealed in this article. The high handed kicking her off of the board and a docent and as the representative of the docents sets in motion disastrous community relations problems.

    I suspect these actions will anger and incite resignations among the docents organization , an essential AAM support group as they learn how their chosen leader and representative was treated.

    After all it is the legal and societal duty of a board member to question and chal-
    enge Executive Committee actions . This responsibility overrides all “style”and
    personality issues.A working, functional board should encourage a range of views.

    Imperious , high handed acts rarely work well. Kindness and gentle approaches
    always works better.

    I must say I second Nancy Ferguson’s comment. It was a pleasure serving with her on the Board the entire time I was on it.

  7. “Cancel culture”?!?! Are you kidding me? These are not adolescents whining for attention, promotions and pay raises. Staff are not and never have requested that the board acquiesce to a certain set of demands. How could they even try with the firewall built around Pam? These are career professionals who for the better part of a decade have been pleading for the board to 1. hear and take seriously major ethical complaints and 2. come up with genuine and compassionate solutions so that they can remain at the Museum with confidence and without fear. Simply dismissing this effort as “cancel culture” is an shallow, elitist view. It is lazy. It is a distinct and dangerous part of the problem.

  8. Thanks for publication but from my experience in NYC museums are famous for being toxic. Meyers has and is doing an incredible job I moved here same year as Meyers. Asheville
    Some art lovers thank their lucky stars for Meyers.

    1. Ms. Stackhouse, no one is arguing that Pam did a good job (in certain parts of her job). The argument is that she has consistently failed at other very vital parts of her job and the Board has been relatively inefficient at addressing them seriously and effectively. Also, while it may be true that toxicity exists in many museums and nonprofits, it is wholly unacceptable to settle for the status quo. It is up to staff and board to assess and address Museum health and not be complacent. The goal of these articles is to challenge the Board to do just that.

  9. If you can’t discuss the efficacy of an organization and the way things are done as a member of that organization’s board of directors, where exactly should one go to have that discussion?

  10. ““In all of my life, I’ve never been in a situation where there was such hostility, and I actually felt physically threatened,” Benites said. “I tried to stand in front of Pam. It was just very upsetting to me.””

    LOL. A few wine-drunk, middle-aged ladies bickering back and forth is the most hostile situation you’ve ever been in? I’m envious of such a sheltered life.

  11. Some people are really great at certain functions. Sounds like Myers is very good at acquiring funds. She should stick to that. It is obvious that her interpersonal skills are lacking, in spite of previous “training” and “consulting”.
    This Board is lacking in their duties to the future of this Museum if they do not address an obviously toxic environment.

  12. Dictatorships serve dictators and their minions. Hoping AAM administrators will learn from the internal and external feedback and make changes for the good of their employees and the city. (And, sorry — I just don’t see how those who fire someone for speaking out can use the word “cancel” culture. Shame! And yes, I’m proudly “woke.”) 🤗

  13. Celebrated my birthday at the art museum on Monday with 3 generations of family. The staff all seemed so pleasant, and my family enjoyed the art, staff and cafe. I need to look at some more pleasant 🖼 after reading this article.

  14. I had a very disappointing and surprising interaction with Ms. Myers many years ago, when I brought about 30 tribal children’s paintings from India, which I thought she might be interested in as they were part of an initiative to train gifted children to carry on Warli Tribal painting traditions. She couldn’t have cared less. She imperiously, very rudely and with great toxicity showed me the door. I have never forgotten this episode. I am not the least surprised by anything I have recently read about her managerial style.

  15. I recently found out that more than one employee that filed for unemployment during Covid (which the museum accepted) later had lawsuits filed against them by Lindsay and Pam to repay all the money they received because the museum forced everyone to work (many in person in the office) through the beginning of Covid leaving folks with kids, elderly and disabled with no way of earning money. How many people did they do this to?

  16. Pam Myers is fundamentally ill equipped for her role. As one of the employees who left in 2015 I can attest to the hostile, dysfunctional and toxic work environment. I spoke to current board members when I left, but clearly no action was take. I am aghast at some of the comments on the recent articles, as well as those from current AAM board members. We should all be grateful for what she has done? These are real people who’s lives she personally has harmed. Just because a person is adept at fundraising does not make them suited to be an executive director who directly manages (a fluctuating number of) employees. I have never experienced someone with so little emotional intelligence and managerial ability. Pam should not have been in charge of day to day operations in 2015, and it is shocking that she still is. The majority of current and former employees could share profusely regarding Pam’s managerial style. The fact that many have shared this sentiment and the board continues to take no meaningful action is ludicrous. If her only merit is that of a fundraiser, perhaps additional questions should be asked. How were these funds stewarded? Who did they support? And at what cost to the employees? Apparently they built Pam’s “house” and that’s all we need to know.

  17. Michelle has a voice of honestly and integrity and not afraid to share it to the world ! Certainly should not be punished for it !

  18. Conflict is not abuse, and Ms. Myers and her Board are reacting in an immature and disappointing way to vital public discourse. Critique, challenge, and transparency all come with leadership. The entire Board is failing to uphold its responsibility and purpose by not taking the Museum employees and their advocates as their first priority. It is up to our community of artists and supporters of the arts to speak up and advocate for our institution and its health, and insist on the Board and especially Ms. Myers’ resignation. You may have built the house, but setting up a throne in it makes a rotten endeavor.

  19. I am disappointed that the Board of the Museum is so insecure that the only way they can deal with differences is by throwing out the person who differs with the majority view. I would hope that they have more skills and resources to deal with conflict than exclusion.

  20. The issues with the director of the art museum are certainly concerning. What I find to be the most concerning is the salary of the director at approximately $167,000 of taxpayer funds. Please check the salaries of public school principals in Asheville and Buncombe County for comparison. The number of staff that many principals manage far outweighs the art museum staff.
    Art is certainly important, but the quality of the education leaders for our children should be primary. A salary of $167,000 of taxpayer funds could be partially allocated to the leadership of our schools.

    1. The salary is probably in line with what other people at that level get paid, and I’m sure that there are more than enough private donations to cover her salary so that no tax-payer dollars are used. Having said that, my guess is that this situation will not end well for Meyers or the board if the current direction continues. As Peter Drucker once famously said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast” and it seems that the culture of this institution is in need of repair.

      1. The Asheville Art Museum is a private nonprofit 501c3 (not public). They garnered support from the city, county, and other government sources for renovation, but tax payer dollars do not have a stake in year to year operations to my knowledge. The city does not own the museum or manage its operations.

        1. The City does not manage the museum but the City does own the land and the building which houses the museum. The space within the building which comprises the Art Museum is leased to it by the City. Prior to the reconfiguration of the building to accommodate the Art Museum expansion, Buncombe County did provide financial support for the operation of the building which housed four organizations. Once the building housed just two organizations, the umbrella organization that operated the building was eliminated, and the existing organizations had direct leases with the City that County support was phased out over a few years.

  21. Great coverage, thanks for exposing the toxic environment. Wish I had a membership so I could cancel it!

  22. Is there a record of how many employees have quit over the past 3-5 years? I am aware of at least 15 full time staff that have quit just this year.

  23. Has Pam done anything unethical or illegal? Or do you simply disagree with her management style? She has been a relentless advocate for the Asheville Art Museum and has led its path to excellence. I don’t always agree with her, but I have immense respect for her and what she has accomplished for Asheville

  24. Sounds like a fiefdom to me, regardless of the “he says, she says.” How any board handles conflicting views in a crisis generally trickles-down to how an operation is managed. The board’s angry internal interactions give credibility to accusations of a toxic work environment. Such a shame.

  25. Kudos to Michelle Weitzman for the compassion, integrity, and courage she demonstrated as an Asheville Art Museum board member. It is a travesty that numerous other board members have long turned a blind eye to the serious, ongoing harm to employees that Ms. Weitzman was asking them to put a stop to.

    As a relatively new resident of Asheville, I admired the quality of two exhibits I saw at the Museum recently and was seriously thinking about becoming a member. But I moved to Asheville in large measure because of its progressive values. So it makes me ill and incensed to think that behind those excellent exhibits lies an abusive work environment that has gone on for years, unchallenged by the very people whose job it is to resolve such matters.

  26. There are two sides to every story. “Watchdog” has succeeded spectacularly in offering one side of it. Righteous indignation feels great, but solves nothing.

  27. This sounds EXACTLY like the art museum I used to work for. The new director came in Fall of 2014 and since then 31 people have quit. A docent was permanently removed from the board and the docent corps for speaking up about the director. What is happening at art museums?

      1. I totally agree, David. I stopped going to the AAM years ago when a charge of $3 was required for 10-13 year old kids from Madison Co. Middle School to enter – not much but too much for many of them. Kids under 15 should be allowed in at no cost if art is to be advanced – now the fee is $10 for those same aged kids. Only 6 and under are free, as well as UNC-A students, Members of AAM, and active military personnel, which most of the latter three groups could afford.

        1. I wouldn’t say UNCA students can afford it, but I also bet they don’t actually get in for free – I bet UNCA has a deal with AAM and pays a set amount per year for students to access it. And AAM gets that money whether or not students go.

  28. The director’s autocratic management style is well-known. This is a serious disincentive for talented people to apply for professional positions at AAM.

    I was impressed to know that the leader of an unpaid docent group held a position on the board. That’s not common practice. Alas, Ms. Weitzman is no longer there as a gadfly. In fact, she is no longer there as a volunteer. To be banished from the palace on Park Square seems to be a common pathway.

    I am a former AAM member, but gave up donating awhile back when the staff turnover showed that the negative work environment was effecting the entire institution.

  29. Do Pam Myers and the museum have any self-awareness at all? Do they have any idea how embarrassing their behavior is?

  30. “There is not a more perilous or immoral habit of mind than the sanctifying of success.” – John Dalberg-Acton. Having worked in a variety of jobs for a variety of cultural institutions, I have observed how success attributed to a single individual can have unanticipated consequences. Checks and balances must be in place for all employees including executive management. Without it we get a situation like this.

  31. I have heard rumblings about the hostile work environment at AAM for years but I had no idea how bad it was/is. My family was a supporter of the Museum for years but I will not be renewing our membership in 2023. I would like to also point out that the Museum has not had an official Curator since shortly after reopening in 2019. What art museum does not have a lead curator? The museum only has an Associate Curator and an Assistant Curator and does not appear to be looking to refill the lead position at this time. Not hiring an experienced curator sure saves money! One must assume that Ms. Myers makes all major curatorial decisions, also. The reliance on one individual for all decision making is a disservice to the institution and the public it supports.

  32. Deja vu all over again! And I thought that I was the only volunteer ever to be fired.
    I was docent president at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts and because of this had a seat on the board. In the spring of 2021, the board voted on the director’s new contract. I, and another board member, opposed the contract because of the director’s extreme salary and benefits while maintaining a toxic working environment ($242K this year with a $35K bonus if she’s still here next month). She makes more than the people running the city government.
    When I handed over the contract to the incoming docent president, I was suspended from being a docent for six months, which extended into 8 1/2 months and then expulsion from the docent corp. The KIA is a nonprofit, so the contract is public knowledge, but I am a friend of many of those who have left the museum and have been very supportive of them. The only people still working at the KIA that were there when the director came 8 years ago are the maintenance men (after getting $605K in PPP, she only rehired maintenance, not anyone she laid off). Over 35 people have either retired, resigned or been fired in the director’s reign. By the way, not only was my seat removed from the board, but also the seat of the other person who voted against the contract.
    I am sad that the place I called my sanctuary and loved being at has been so tarnished. My heart goes out to Ms. Weitzman. When will these “leaders” ever learn that a toxic environment doesn’t benefit the institution.

  33. I would love to see a deep dive into the funding of the museum. I would like to know exactly what public money from which governments, city, county, state and federal, the museum receives, and how that money is used vs. the same for private donations. Is the Asheville Art Museum a public institution meant to serve citizens or merely Ms. Myers’ “house” and the board’s plaything….

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