Eiteljorg hires Newfields exec Kathryn Haigh as new CEO

Kathryn Haigh
Kathryn Haigh will become president and CEO of the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art in May. (Eric Lubrick photo provided by Newfields)

Kathryn Haigh, the chief operating officer at Newfields art museum and gardens, will succeed John Vanausdall as president and CEO of the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art.

Haigh’s transition from one Indianapolis cultural institution to another is scheduled for May, the Eiteljorg announced Thursday. Vanausdall, who has guided the Eiteljorg since 1996, will retire June 30.

The announcement of Haigh’s leadership at the Eiteljorg follows recent hirings for top jobs at the Indiana Repertory Theatre, Phoenix Theatre Cultural Centre and Newfields. The IRT named Benjamin Hanna as artistic director last month, while Constance Macy became artistic director of the Phoenix and Colette Pierce Burnette became CEO at Newfields in 2022.

Haigh, whose last name rhymes with “Craig,” said she’s eager to be part of a new generation of cultural leaders.

“I am excited about the opportunity to lead the Eiteljorg at this particular time in our country’s history,” Haigh said in a written statement. “We are experiencing a period of cultural transformation in Indianapolis with many new leaders at key institutions, and I can’t wait to see what we can do together to promote culture and become a community resource for all.”

Haigh joined the staff of the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields in 2007. The University of Cincinnati alum managed collections, exhibitions, conservation, security, facilities and other areas at Newfields. She worked on the installation and operations of the Winterlights holiday display and the renovation of the museum’s Clowes Pavilion.

Pat Anker, chair of the Eiteljorg board, said she expects Haigh will sustain Vanausdall’s legacy and build on it.

“Her career has been one of rich artistic as well as deep operating experience,” Anker said in a written statement. “We searched for—and found—someone with exemplary credentials in leadership, fundraising, DEAI, strategic planning and community outreach. In addition, Kathryn brings a tremendous exhibition-development background.”

The Eiteljorg, 500 W. Washington St., opened its revised Native American Galleries last June. The not-for-profit museum has a $40 million endowment.

An exhibition titled “Changing Views: The Photography of Dorothea Lange” opened last week at the Eiteljorg as a showcase of Depression-era photos. The exhibition will be on display through Aug. 6.

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

Story Continues Below

Editor's note: You can comment on IBJ stories by signing in to your IBJ account. If you have not registered, please sign up for a free account now. Please note our updated comment policy that will govern how comments are moderated.

2 thoughts on “Eiteljorg hires Newfields exec Kathryn Haigh as new CEO

  1. I worked with Katie when I was on the board of the IMA, now Newfields. She is capable and always pleasant, an excellent combination.
    Shirley M. Mueller