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Major Arts Group Leader Steps Aside Amid Workplace Complaints

Major Arts Group Leader Steps Aside Amid Workplace Complaints
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Major Arts Group Leader Steps Aside Amid Workplace Complaints

Main Arts Group Chief Steps Apart Amid Office Complaints

Robert Lynch, the chief govt of Individuals for the Arts, the highly effective nationwide advocacy group, has stepped apart amid complaints and investigations into the group’s fairness and variety practices and its office administration.

Mr. Lynch, who has served within the management position there for greater than three many years, will take a paid depart of absence, the group’s board of administrators introduced in a press release on Wednesday. “It has turn into evident that regardless of our greatest efforts, now we have not met our targets to steer, serve and advance the various networks of entities and people who domesticate the humanities in America,” the assertion mentioned.

Mr. Lynch, 71, has been a distinguished advocate for assets for nonprofit arts organizations; he was additionally on the Biden-Harris transition workforce for the humanities and humanities. His departure from his put up at AFTA, the place his annual compensation bundle was over $900,000, in keeping with tax filings, was voluntary and efficient instantly, the assertion mentioned. (Mr. Lynch’s work with the Biden-Harris transition workforce has been accomplished, a spokesman mentioned.)

His absence was meant to permit a sturdy examination of AFTA, which has an endowment of over $100 million. “It’s Bob’s robust perception — one that’s regrettably shared by the Board — that probably the most acceptable plan of action now could be to permit the investigations to proceed with out distraction and in the most effective pursuits of the mission of the group and the sphere,” the assertion mentioned.

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The transfer comes after a rising refrain of criticism, from present and former AFTA staff and advisory council members, who mentioned that the group was failing its mission with respect to variety, fairness and inclusion. There have been additionally complaints of sexual harassment, and of a administration tradition that was constructed on intimidation as an alternative of transparency. Critics had referred to as for Mr. Lynch to resign as a result of, they mentioned, he had lengthy been unresponsive to the issues they enumerated. The furor was additionally the topic of a Washington Publish report this week that detailed the problems, which embody accounts of widespread retaliation amongst its senior workers.

Over the previous few months, because the calls grew for AFTA to diversify its management and higher serve inventive communities and artists of shade, the group publicly defended its actions, and vowed to do higher. It’s considered one of a lot of arts organizations, giant and small, that has been pressured to reckon with a historical past of inequity in its ranks and programming just lately.

In its assertion, AFTA mentioned it could now be the topic of two impartial investigations, one by the regulation agency Proskauer Rose associated to the work setting, and one by the consulting agency the Hewlin Group, which can deal with AFTA’s insurance policies and procedures surrounding variety, fairness and inclusion.

A former board member, Retired U.S. Military Brig. Gen. Nolen Bivens, will lead the group as its interim president and chief govt, the board mentioned.

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