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Jeffrey Spalding, CEO of the Glenbow and cultural rockstar, unexpectedly steps down

By DJ Kelly January 9, 2009

As I’ve been posting for a bit on Twitter and Facebook, Jeffrey Spalding, the CEO of the Glenbow Museum has stepped down this afternoon. Rather unexpected to be blunt. The story is being reported by the Herald and CBC now too.

Here’s the official word from the man himself:


A note to colleagues and friends:

This afternoon, Glenbow and I parted company. Enclosed you will find a media release issued by Lachlan Currie, chair of the board. It has been my privilege and honour to work with fine staff, generous colleagues as well as wonderful supportive partners, sponsors and donors. Together much of great note has been accomplished. THANKS!

My personal email is: [deleted for privacy reasons]

Cheers

Jeffrey

Jeffrey Spalding C.M.
President, Royal Canadian Academy of Arts

This certainly is sad news for the Calgary cultural community. From the outside perspective Jeffrey’s work at the Glenbow has been commendable. Not since Lance Carlson moved to town to take over the Alberta College of Art and Design has one individual or organization shook up the cultural and business communities so thoroughly.

I’m throughly disappointed. I think I’ll go to Ramsay tonight and visit the Device to Root out Evil and mourn.

I certainly hope that he is moving on for reasons that are personsally positive. I wish him all the best assuming they are. (And I can’t wait to find out the reasons behind such a seemingly quick move.)

  • Anonymous

    Sadly, it is very good news, for art lovers and for Glenbow, that Jeff has “resigned.” For one of the many reasons, you could check on the financial health and art storage/treatment situations at his former places of employment. You could check on the deficit budget and fundraising woes that plague Glenbow. You could ask yourself why “The Big Gift,” (the many “unsolicited”(!?) donations), may not be what it seems…usually gifts do not cost the recipient anything, let alone money, resources and space that they do not have. You could ask what has happened to all the thousands of pieces of art that he “collected” for the U of L art gallery. You could cross-check the names of the artists that he “collected” for these same institutions…and see how many are the same from gallery to gallery. And maybe not so “new.” And maybe not great examples of the artists’ work. Maybe they needed a tax receipt. The vision of arts renewal is Glenbow’s, not Spalding’s. There is a responsible, thoughtful way to move forward to that goal, and there is…what happened in 2008. To what belongs to all the people of Alberta.

  • Anonymous

    Sadly, it is very good news, for art lovers and for Glenbow, that Jeff has “resigned.” For one of the many reasons, you could check on the financial health and art storage/treatment situations at his former places of employment. You could check on the deficit budget and fundraising woes that plague Glenbow. You could ask yourself why “The Big Gift,” (the many “unsolicited”(!?) donations), may not be what it seems…usually gifts do not cost the recipient anything, let alone money, resources and space that they do not have. You could ask what has happened to all the thousands of pieces of art that he “collected” for the U of L art gallery. You could cross-check the names of the artists that he “collected” for these same institutions…and see how many are the same from gallery to gallery. And maybe not so “new.” And maybe not great examples of the artists’ work. Maybe they needed a tax receipt. The vision of arts renewal is Glenbow’s, not Spalding’s. There is a responsible, thoughtful way to move forward to that goal, and there is…what happened in 2008. To what belongs to all the people of Alberta.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, sad indeed for the people of Calgary and Alberta, and true ‘art lovers’. The sucking sound is all of the enthusiasm and goodwill Mr. Spalding brought now deflating…This has the feel of a coup- a permanent (not interim?)successor named and a press release ready-to-go.

    ‘Anonymous’ shows a deep ignorance for the reality of collection-building in Canada. With shrinking budgets, private donations of art are the lifeblood of museums. No one knew this better than Jeff Spalding or did a better job at it. Ask Lethbridge with its 13,000 objects of art, now the property of the People of Alberta (they started with a couple of hundred before Mr. Spalding arrived). I guess the 13,000 was just so many favours for certain artists or for tax receipts? It takes people of vision and enthusiasm to truly renew the arts, not life-long bureaucrats and short-sighted boards…

  • Anonymous

    Yes, sad indeed for the people of Calgary and Alberta, and true ‘art lovers’. The sucking sound is all of the enthusiasm and goodwill Mr. Spalding brought now deflating…This has the feel of a coup- a permanent (not interim?)successor named and a press release ready-to-go.’Anonymous’ shows a deep ignorance for the reality of collection-building in Canada. With shrinking budgets, private donations of art are the lifeblood of museums. No one knew this better than Jeff Spalding or did a better job at it. Ask Lethbridge with its 13,000 objects of art, now the property of the People of Alberta (they started with a couple of hundred before Mr. Spalding arrived). I guess the 13,000 was just so many favours for certain artists or for tax receipts? It takes people of vision and enthusiasm to truly renew the arts, not life-long bureaucrats and short-sighted boards…

  • Anonymous

    Jeffrey Spalding is a brilliant curator. However, a brilliant CEO he is not. He has left the Glenbow nearly $1 million in debt and an institution already suffering from internal strife left ever further battered by his dicatorial “my way or the highway” approach to management. The Glenbow missed an opportunity to hire a brillian CEO and put Spalding in the role of Curator of Art.

    When will this Board of Directors realize they need to bring on their board people who understand museums? The board is dragging the poor Glenbow further and further into irrelevance. Get your act together!

  • Anonymous

    Jeffrey Spalding is a brilliant curator. However, a brilliant CEO he is not. He has left the Glenbow nearly $1 million in debt and an institution already suffering from internal strife left ever further battered by his dicatorial “my way or the highway” approach to management. The Glenbow missed an opportunity to hire a brillian CEO and put Spalding in the role of Curator of Art.When will this Board of Directors realize they need to bring on their board people who understand museums? The board is dragging the poor Glenbow further and further into irrelevance. Get your act together!