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Saturday, March 2, 2024

EXCLUSIVE: GANGGANG co-founder resigns from Newfields board of governors 

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Mali Bacon
Malina Bacon, co-founder and executive director of GANGGANG visits the ‘We. The Culture’ exhibit at Newfields. (Photo provided/ Malina Bacon)

In a statement released exclusively to The Recorder, Mali Bacon, co-founder and executive director of cultural and arts institution GANGGANG, announced her resignation from the board of governors at Newfields. 

“I am a founding member of the Board of Governors at Newfields. For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to lend my expertise to the art museum in Indianapolis. I’ve always loved the way it stood tall, proud, colorful and limitless on what it could teach us. It was a dream come true to join the museum’s leadership, and in a way that was new and focused on reaching out to welcome in,” Bacon said. 

Her departure from the board of governors follows the still unexplained exit of former CEO Dr. Colette Pierce Burnette and the recent board of trustee’s resignations of Adrienne Sims, Otto Frenzel IV and Gary Hirschberg. 

Sims, who was a member of the human resources committee, said that “Recent leadership decisions were not made in an inclusive and consultative manner, which has been disheartening,” hoping that future decisions would “be approached with integrity and demonstrate a commitment to diversity, inclusion and respect for all.” 

In her statement, Bacon thanked the board of trustees for taking a risk to establish the board of governors.  

“We built the BOG to aggressively serve our community by leveraging our art museum,” Bacon said.  However, she believed that it was her “civic duty” to leave the board because she was no longer able to “lead as we designed.” 

“Leadership, now, is noticing a broad, lopsided dependence on (art) institutions as society’s primary source for creative innovation and for care. The new world is ushering enormous mindset change, and value-shifts which incur global-scale economic and power implications. My departure feels symbolic to that change; a marker of the time we turned to artists,” Bacon said. 

GANGGANG was instrumental in introducing diverse artists at Newfields through exhibits like “We. The Culture: Works by the Eighteen Art Collective,” which featured eighteen artists of color and explored themes of identity, history and social justice.  

Additional reporting by LaTasha Boyd Jones. 

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  1. I’m so sorry to hear of all the departure of staff from Newfields. I understand that nobody is giving much into why so many have left but I want to encourage all involved to continue to make Indy a great place for the arts. There’s so much talent here that Indy doesn’t get recognized enough for it. Many musicians, comedians, actors, artist and authors have come from Indiana and I just think more people needs to know of the thriving arts in indy. I’ve always said that Indianapolis was a very underrated city.

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