Art museum names fundraising chief

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The fundraising department at the Indianapolis Museum of Art soon will have a new leader who held a similar job at the National Museum of Science and Industry in London.

The IMA announced Tuesday that Cynthia Rallis is the new chief development officer. She starts work Jan. 1.

As IBJ reported in June, the IMA's search for a new fundraising chief is the first step toward a major campaign, which has yet to be announced.

“Cynthia brings to the IMA significant expertise in developing fundraising programs and in managing several large development operations within the museum field,” CEO Maxwell Anderson said in a prepared statement. “We are pleased to welcome Cynthia to the IMA and are confident that her experience will lead the museum in strengthening its fundraising model.”

Rallis, who worked in banking before turning her career to museums, was director of development for the National Museum of Science and Industry in London from 2005 to 2009. She more than doubled the museum's private philanthropic support, according to an IMA news release.

Before the job in London, Rallis was director of development for the Cleveland Museum of Art. She has also served as deputy director at the UCLA Hammer Museum and manager of administration for the Getty Education Institute for the Arts in Los Angeles.

“I am pleased to be joining the Indianapolis Museum of Art at such an exciting moment in its long and distinguished history,” Rallis said in a prepared statement. “I especially look forward to getting to know the Indianapolis community that does so much to promote and support not only the museum, but the diverse range of cultural activities.”

Rallis received her master’s degree in art history in July from the Univesity of London's Courtauld Institute of Art. She also has a master's of business administration with a concentration in marketing and finance from the Anderson Graduate School of Management at UCLA and a bachelor's in theater from Smith College in Northampton, Mass.

The IMA gets most of its operating revenue from an enviable $316.7 million endowment, but heavy losses in late 2008 and 2009 prompted $7 million in budget cuts through the end of fiscal year June 30.

Anderson said in June that he realizes the museum needs to be less reliant on the endowment. “The fundraising functions haven’t been as assertive and front-and-center as with other institutions,” he said at the time. “We need to be more resolute and hard-working in finding support for the museum.”

In the midst of the belt-tightening, the museum has lost two development directors and a top-donating board member. The last development director, Kathy Nagler, took on a lesser job in March, then left the museum last summer. Nagler succeeded Fred Duncan, who left in August 2009 to become executive director of the cancer agency Little Red Door.

In addition to the staff departures, the board of governors lost its leading fundraiser, Wayne Zink, when he resigned in November 2009. The museum’s 375-seat reception hall, the Deer-Zink Pavilion, is named for Zink and his partner, Randolph Deer.


  • Fundraising
    The museum needs to explain more the fact that this museum is extensively used to teach art, anthropology, history, and science to children and adults. Donor organizations might be impressed by what the museum does as a social institution.
  • Reply
    Newspapers are having to find ways to survive and adapt to a different environment. One that is increasingly difficult. If you support the in depth coverage and want to read more, pay for online access or better yet just buy a copy of the paper or find it in your local branch library. Having a paper actually cover the happenings at the IMA has been a welcome relief for many in the art community. The IBJ deserves support. Buy a paper. Support them for being an in depth vital source of real hard news.
  • Response to Moderator
    First off I would like to commend the IBJ for running all the articles on the IMA. I believe the IBJ has given the best coverage of all aspects of the IMA operation. In addition I can cetainly understand the papers need to remain profitable and thus most articles need to be for the subscribers first, but those articles about our major public cultural institutions need to be seen by everyone interested. The article about the Firing of the Gallery Guards brought forth a number of spirited comments which I believe had some positive effect for it made the IMA Board much more aware of how people felt. I would hope the IBJ would consider making all articles on the cultural institutions open to everyone. Again thank you for what you have already done.
    • Not censoring
      Mr. Radecki,

      The article to which you are referring is available to subscribers. We are not "censoring" the article.

      IBJ provides a wealth of content for free on ibj.com, but some articles are limited to subscribers only. After all, if we gave all of our content away, we'd have a tough time staying in business.

      Subscription information is available at http://www.ibj.com/subscriptions.

      Thank you for reading
    • Good Luck but why censor some articles
      Good Luck to the IMA's new Development Director, I think she may have an uphill climb with Max and his attitude causing issues. But why does the IBJ place this article in an open site where anyone can read and respond to it but the controversy over Sue Ellen Paxson lawsuit against the IMA is placed on a password protected site. It would appear that the IBJ is self censoring it's own article

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