Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Mattress Factory to Name Leader Soon Museum Board Picking New Acting Director

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Mattress Factory to Name Leader Soon Museum Board Picking New Acting Director

Article excerpt

Judith Hansen O'Toole's contract as acting director of the Mattress Factory ends Jan. 31, but the museum is not going to become unmoored. Her successor is expected to be announced by the museum board within two to three weeks, she said.

Mary Navarro, a local arts management consultant who was hired as special adviser to the museum and reported to Ms. O'Toole, has offered to continue in that role if the acting director wishes.

"We're both doing the best we can to ensure that the transition is smooth," Ms. O'Toole said.

The new acting director will be full time, working five days a week as opposed to Ms. O'Toole's three. "I think that's very good news," she said.

Ms. O'Toole will assume the position of interim executive director for The Frick Pittsburgh in Point Breeze on Feb. 1. Frick executive director Robin Nicholson will leave next month to become executive director/CEO of Telfair Museums in Savannah, Ga.

While Ms. O'Toole's last official day at the Mattress Factory is just over a week away, she will maintain a presence until the new acting director arrives, she said. Founded in 1977, the contemporary art museum comprises three buildings in the Mexican War Streets on the North Side and has commissioned new installation and performance works by more than 750 artists.

Ms. O'Toole was named acting director of the Mattress Factory in October. The museum board had placed executive director Michael Olijnyk on temporary paid leave after a current employee and three former employees filed charges against the museum with the Pittsburgh office of the National Labor Relations Board about how sexual harassment complaints were handled.

The board is in the process of discussing what future museum leadership will entail and whether Mr. Olijnyk will be involved.

"The board has come a long way," Ms. O'Toole said. "It was once thought that things could go back to business as usual once the NLRB settlement was completed. …

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