For Immediate Release

Grand Rapids Art Museum Welcomes Cindy Meyers Foley as New Director and CEO

Foley takes the helm of the Grand Rapids Art Museum on June 5, 2023

Grand Rapids, MI, March 23, 2023 — The Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM) Board of Trustees today announced the appointment of Cindy Meyers Foley as its next Director and CEO. Foley comes to GRAM after a 17-year tenure at the Columbus Museum of Art, where she most recently served as the Scantland Family Executive Deputy Director for Learning, Experience and Engagement since 2015. Foley will begin her role as GRAM Director and CEO on June 5, 2023.

Foley’s appointment follows a comprehensive national search led by executive search consultants Korn Ferry and the GRAM Executive Search Committee, chaired by Mitch Watt and Jim Schipper, and comprised of museum trustees and community leaders.

The Grand Rapids Art Museum is thrilled to welcome Cindy Meyers Foley as its next leader,” commented GRAM Board President Erin Gravelyn. Cindy’s proven expertise in executive leadership, and her passion for building innovative, community-centered experiences will lead GRAM boldly into the next step of its exciting future.”

As Director and CEO, Foley will lead all aspects of the Museum, including guiding the overall direction of curatorial and educational programming, cultivating new and current partnerships with local, regional, and national organizations, and championing an organizational culture that drives diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion.

I am honored to have been selected as the Grand Rapids Art Museum’s next Director and CEO,” said Foley. GRAM is a national model for evolving to meet the needs of its community, and I can’t wait to work alongside such an innovative team. It is especially meaningful to be joining the arts community in a city that is growing and thriving, a perfect place for a museum and its partners to be catalysts for community creativity.”

An accomplished educator, writer, and speaker, Foley is a seasoned thought leader in the arts sector, with 30 years of experience in helping museums cultivate curiosity and drive social engagement. Foley has held various roles throughout her career in development, curatorial, learning, and administration, and prior to her tenure at CMA, she worked at the Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA) in Portland, Maine, and the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio.

During her time as Director of Education and Curator at the ICA, Foley curated over 12 thoughtful and engaging exhibitions, including: Back from Nature, The Sportsman Redux (2005), Living Green, Examining Sustainability (2004), and Playground (2002), which launched Learning to Love You More, the experimental web-based project by Miranda July, Harrell Fletcher, and Yuri Ono.

At the Columbus Museum of Art, Foley envisioned and led the opening of the 18,000-square-foot Center for Creativity, an experimental hub for creativity that welcomes over 200,000 visitors per year. In 2013, CMA received the National Medal for Museums in recognition of this work. Foley has been critical in the development of several nationally recognized education projects in Columbus, including the Wonder School, a museum/​university laboratory preschool, and the Center for Art and Social Engagement, an experimental gallery developed to activate conversation, reflection, and action in relation to art that addresses social issues.

Foley has been on the faculty of the Maine College of Art and Harvard University’s Project Zero Classroom Summer Institute, and regularly keynotes a variety of museum, art, and education conferences. In November 2014, she was a TEDx Columbus Speaker presenting Teaching Art or Teaching to Think like an Artist, and in 2016, she was asked to again take the TEDx Stage to present The Benefits of Boredom. In 2018, Foley received the Ohio Distinguished Educator for Art Education award.

Foley is a board member for FLAME (Forum for Leaders in Art Museum Education) and TAB (Teaching for Artistic Behavior). She holds a master’s degree in Art Education from Ohio State University, and a bachelor’s degree in Individual Studies in the Arts from the University of Kentucky.

Current and Upcoming Exhibitions

Rethinking Monuments: American Sculpture in its Time, 1850 — 2000
January 13 — April 8, 2023

Presence: The Photography Collection of Judy Glickman Lauder
February 11 — April 29, 2023

Make a Picture: A Selection of Michigan Photographers from GRAM’s Collection
February 11 — April 29, 2023

Françoise Gilot: Sympathetic Resonance
March 16 — June 17, 2023

Message From Our Planet: Digital Art from the Thoma Collection
June 17 — September 9, 2023

Everything Beautiful in its Time: Five Centuries of Prints from the Jansma

September 2 — December 2, 2023

Underneath Everything: Humility and Grandeur in Contemporary Ceramics
October 7, 2023 — January 13, 2024

About the Grand Rapids Art Museum

Connecting people through art, creativity, and design. Established in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids, the art museum is internationally known for its distinguished design and LEED® Gold certified status. Founded in 1910 as the Grand Rapids Art Association, GRAM has grown to include more than 6,000 works of art, including American and European 19th and 20th-century painting and sculpture and more than 3,000 works on paper. Embracing the city’s legacy as a leading center of design and manufacturing, GRAM has a growing collection in the area of design and modern craft. For museum hours and admission fees, call 616.831.1000 or visit