Brooklyn Museum Announces Kimberly Panicek Trueblood as President, COO

December 9th, 2021

New York’s Brooklyn Museum has appointed Kimberly Panicek Trueblood as its new president and chief operating officer. Trueblood’s wealth of experience lies not in the art world but in the public-service sector. Most recently chief of staff at the American Civil Liberties Union, Trueblood was previously deputy CFO and budget director for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. From 2013 to 215, she served the Obama administration as director of White House operations and prior to that was staff sergeant of the Washington Air National Guard, an air reserve component of the US Air Force.

“From a very young age I dreamed of leading a cultural institution, not only for my love of the arts but for the power of the arts to enact social change,” said Trueblood. “I have seen firsthand how important the Brooklyn Museum is to the local community that it serves, as well as its impact on global audiences and the museum field at large.”

Trueblood will assume her new role in 2022, taking the reins from David Berliner. The former real estate developer, a trustee since 2011, was appointed to the dual roles in 2016. During his tenure, Berliner helped secure major capital grants for the museum, including $10 million toward a new gallery for its Arts of Africa collection and a $50 million gift from New York City, but came under fire in recent years for what protesters perceived as the institution’s failure to diversify its top staff, and its role in the gentrification of the surrounding area.

“KP’s appointment comes at a moment of incredible growth for the Brooklyn Museum, and her exceptional leadership experience in social action–oriented organizations will contribute greatly to strengthening our mission and reach,” said Brooklyn Museum director Anne Pasternak in a statement. “I have been blessed to have a great partner in David Berliner, who helped lead the Museum through tremendous change—from doubling audiences to greatly expanding earned revenue—and I am excited to build a new partnership with KP that is just as impactful.”

In naming Trueblood to the top posts, the Brooklyn Museum continues what appears to be a recent trend toward hiring professionals who possess the necessary skills to do a job but don’t come from a traditional art-history background. The brand-new San Francisco Museum of Art last month announced a slew of key hires, all coming from sectors outside the art world. Representing the dark side of this trend is Poland’s recent announcement of jazz drummer Janusz Janowski as director of Warsaw’s Zacheta National Gallery of Art, said to be politically motivated.