November 16, 2023

Growing calls for transparency after departure of Newfields CEO

Burnette began her Newfields role 15 months ago. - (WFYI file photo)

Burnette began her Newfields role 15 months ago.

(WFYI file photo)

Two Indianapolis organizations have called for greater transparency about the departure of Newfields’ president and CEO last week.

The Indiana Black Expo and the Indianapolis Urban League issued a statement Thursday about the “negative perceptions” attached to Dr. Colette Pierce Burnette’s exit from the art museum. 

IBE vice president of administration Katrina Owens said the organizations had started a meaningful relationship under Burnette’s guidance.

“Indiana Black Expo engaged over 250 individuals for our film festival this year that was located at Newfields," Owens said. "We purchased yearly memberships and gave them to our IBE volunteers. We were working on a 2024 plan that now has come to a halt.”

Burnette started the job only 15 months ago, replacing the former Newfields CEO Charles Venable. He resigned after public outcry over an Indianapolis Museum of Art director job post that sought to maintain the organization's "traditional, core, white art audience".

Newfields has not yet responded to WFYI emails about Burnette's departure.

Contact WFYI city government and policy reporter Jill Sheridan at

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