Sasha Suda named new director of Philadelphia Museum of Art

Sasha Suda, the new director and CEO of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. (Provided by the Philadelphia Museum of Art)

Sasha Suda, the new director and CEO of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. (Provided by the Philadelphia Museum of Art)

The Philadelphia Museum of Art has selected its new director and CEO: Sasha Suda, who currently runs the National Gallery of Canada, in Ontario, will start at the PMA in September.

The previous director of the Philadelphia Art Museum, Timothy Rub, stepped down in January after 13 years.

After an international search, the museum board selected Suda for her “proven commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and access,” said board chair Leslie Anne Miller in a statement. “We believe Sasha’s arrival will mark a new era of growth and civic engagement for the museum.”

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Suda was born in Ontario and studied at Princeton as an undergraduate, before ultimately earning her PhD at New York University. When she became director of the National Gallery of Canada in 2019, Suda was one of its youngest leaders ever.

Now 41, Suda said in a statement she is looking forward to “collaborating with the board, internal teams, and partners to enhance the museum’s relevance and build on its success locally, nationally, and globally.”

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During his 13 years at the helm, Rub oversaw a $500 million physical expansion of the museum, and more than its share of turbulence in the last few years. In addition to the pandemic shutdown, the administration reportedly failed to investigate harassment allegations made against one of its former executives. The museum was also criticized by some of its Black employees for its response to the Black Lives Matter movement of 2020, for which Rub ultimately apologized.

Workers at the museum formed a union in 2020. Almost two years later, they have not negotiated their first contract.

Some employees at the National Gallery of Canada are unionized with the Public Service Alliance of Canada. Suda told the Philadelphia Inquirer that she had worked closely with union leaders in contract negotiations and is “excited” to be “part of that conversation.”

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