News Release

Colleen Russell Criste Appointed Deputy Director and Chief Philanthropy Officer at the Cleveland Museum of Art

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Kelley Notaro Schreiber

The Cleveland Museum of Art
knotaro [at] clevelandart.org

Cleveland, OH (January 7, 2020)—The Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA) today announced the appointment of Colleen Russell Criste as deputy director and chief philanthropy officer. Following an extensive national search, Ms. Criste will join the museum’s executive leadership team reporting to and working closely with the museum director. She will be charged to broaden community connections and encourage philanthropic investment in the museum. Ms. Criste will assume her duties at the CMA in early 2020. 

“As we work to achieve the ambitious goals outlined in our strategic plan, Colleen’s extensive fundraising experience, passion for philanthropy and experience building institutional and community partnerships are all assets to the museum,” said William Griswold, director of the Cleveland Museum of Art.  

As deputy director and chief philanthropy officer, Ms. Criste will be the guiding architect of the museum’s fundraising program. She will provide leadership for marketing and communications, as well as for fund development for ongoing programs and long-term special campaigns that support and strengthen the museum’s overall mission. She will work with colleagues, board members and volunteers to develop fundraising goals and strategies that broaden community connections and encourage philanthropic investment in the museum. And she will supervise the departments of philanthropy, stewardship and donor relations, institutional relations and communications and external relations.  

“I am thrilled to be appointed to serve on behalf of such an extraordinary museum with esteemed collections, curators and leadership committed to its reputation of excellence,” said Ms. Criste. “The museum is also forward-thinking, considering new approaches to address the many opportunities and demands of the museum in the world today. With a strategic plan in place, the Cleveland Museum of Art is positioned to deepen and expand its work, and I look forward to working with the board, donors, members, colleagues and others throughout the community to help establish the partnerships required to achieve the vision and make art meaningful to all audiences.” 

With 25 years of experience in top management roles primarily in the museum sector, Ms. Criste comes to the Cleveland Museum of Art from Los Angeles, where she has served in a consulting role with nonprofits and cultural organizations across Southern California.  

She has also recently led development and membership programs with Southern California Public Radio, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), establishing strong development programs with increased resources. 

Prior to her roles in Los Angeles and New York City where she led development and marketing for the International Center of Photography, Ms. Criste spent 13 years with the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh on behalf of both the Carnegie Museum of Art and the Andy Warhol Museum where she was the deputy director. 

A native of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Ms. Criste holds a bachelor’s degree in art history and a minor in psychology from the University of Pittsburgh. 

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About the Cleveland Museum of Art

The Cleveland Museum of Art is renowned for the quality and breadth of its collection, which includes more than 61,000 objects and spans 6,000 years of achievement in the arts. The museum is a significant international forum for exhibitions, scholarship, and performing arts. One of the top comprehensive art museums in the nation and free of charge to all, the Cleveland Museum of Art is located in the dynamic University Circle neighborhood.

The Cleveland Museum of Art is supported by a broad range of individuals, foundations and businesses in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio. The museum is generously funded by Cuyahoga County residents through Cuyahoga Arts and Culture. Additional support comes from the Ohio Arts Council, which helps fund the museum with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans. For more information about the museum, its holdings, programs and events, call 888-CMA-0033 or visit ClevelandArt.org.