Painter Sues New York’s Children’s Museum of the Arts, Claiming He Was Abruptly Terminated as Director - The World News

Painter Sues New York’s Children’s Museum of the Arts, Claiming He Was Abruptly Terminated as Director

Artist Seth Cameron, the former director of Children’s Museum of the Arts (CMA), filed a lawsuit against the New York institution, alleging that it breached his contract when his leadership was abruptly ended in November.

Cameron took on the role as executive director of the CMA in February 2020, less than a year after the death of former the museum’s former leader, Barbara Hunt McLanahan, in June 2019. Prior to joining the museum, Cameron helped start the Bruce High Quality Foundation artists’ collective and served as the president of its art school, BHQFU. He has also exhibited his paintings produced solo.

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Salvador Dali.

According to the court documents, during the pandemic, Cameron was instrumental in securing financial assistance, including applying for grants and loans from the Nonprofit Finance Fund, organizing a fundraising campaign that brought in $125,000, and renegotiating the CMA’s lease, which allegedly saved the organization $250,000. 

According to the lawsuit, Cameron’s tenure ended on November 17, 2023, when he was terminated from his position by the museum’s leadership. His departure from the museum had not previously been reported in the press.

The termination was allegedly attributed to budgetary concerns and performance issues raised by the Allison Russo, who became the president of the CMA’s board of directors in 2023. This triggered a series of negotiations regarding Cameron’s severance package.

Per the court documents, Russo’s budgetary concerns were raised despite the board of directors unanimously approving Cameron’s proposed budget for the 2024 fiscal year.

Initially, the CMA proposed a severance payment of $12,147.69, which Cameron rejected. Then, he hired counsel to negotiate for a higher settlement. After subsequent negotiations, an agreement was reached for a severance payment of $19,658.18.

Yet the lawsuit alleges that the CMA later reneged on this agreement, citing a dispute with a leasing company over payment obligations, and ultimately refused to honor the agreed-upon amount.

The lawsuit seeks damages for the breach of contract, payment for accrued unused paid time off, and attorney’s fees. When asked about the lawsuit a spokesperson for the museum told ARTnews: “We cannot comment at this time as the matter is still developing.”

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