E. Michael Whittington Appointed Executive Director of Bellevue Arts Museum

February 22, 2022
Images (left to right): E. Michael Whittington, Bellevue Arts Museum, Gallery view of BAM Biennial 2021: Architecture & Urban Design

February 22, 2022
Contact: Emilie Smith

Bellevue, WA—Bellevue Arts Museum’s Board of Trustees is pleased to announce the appointment of E. Michael Whittington as Executive Director of Bellevue Arts Museum. Whittington brings a distinguished career of museum leadership to BAM along with a history of successfully transforming organizations at critical stages of their growth.

Whittington most recently served as President and CEO of Oklahoma City Museum of Art (OKCMOA) where he launched an innovative strategic plan that led to new levels of artistic and financial success for the organization. While at OKCMOA, he also worked to engage a wider range of community members and expand the museum’s vision by introducing new programming initiatives and presenting exhibitions such as My Generation: Young Chinese Artists and Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic. These efforts dramatically increased the museum’s audience and national reputation. Prior to his tenure at OKCMOA, he served as Executive Director at Monterey Museum of Art where he oversaw efforts that led to an exponential growth in attendance and Museum membership.

“I’m honored by the invitation to lead Bellevue Arts Museum during this consequential moment in the organization’s history,” says Whittington. “While the pandemic has been difficult for arts organizations everywhere, I’m excited to help BAM seize the opportunities that come with times of transition. The museum has long been committed to serving as a public forum for the exploration of art, craft, and design. As I begin my role this spring, I look forward to connecting with the diverse communities that live, work, and play here in Bellevue and learning how we can best shape inclusive and accessible arts engagement in 2022 and beyond.”

“The Museum’s Board of Trustees is excited to begin working closely with Michael in the coming months,” says Board President, Jill Wakefield. “His deep experience in museum leadership, sound nonprofit practices, and fostering artistic excellence will provide a strong foundation for ongoing work on the Museum’s long-term financial stability, strategic planning, and other key initiatives.”

“It’s been an honor to lead Bellevue Arts Museum over the past ten months,” says outgoing Interim Executive Director Leigh Ann More. “BAM is such a unique and special local institution, and I look forward to seeing the many ways the organization will continue to grow under Michael’s leadership.”

Whittington’s appointment comes as the Museum looks forward to presenting an exciting slate of 2022 exhibitions and celebrating the 76th anniversary of its signature Arts Fair, which will resume as a live event following last year’s virtual marketplace. Michael Whittington will assume the role of Executive Director on March 14, 2022.


About Bellevue Arts Museum
Bellevue Arts Museum provides a public forum for the community to contemplate, appreciate, and discuss visual culture. We work with audiences, artists, makers, and designers to understand our shared experience of the world. bellevuearts.org.