Message from Indy Arts Council CEO addressing Newfields CEO departure

People of Culture

Message from Julie Goodman, Indy Arts Council President & CEO, addressing Newfields CEO departure

Message posted on November 11, 2023

Yesterday I was asked by IBJ reporter Dave Lindquist to comment on Dr. Burnette’s exit from Newfields. I shared my utter shock and devastation, adding: “Dr. Burnette has been a lightning rod of hope, healing, and progress at Newfields which has extended across our entire arts and cultural community. She made more progress in her early tenure than many make in an entire career. I don’t understand this at all and will be asking a lot of questions.” 

On behalf of Indy Arts Council, I’m honored to support our city’s vibrant community of artists, creatives, and institutions, including Newfields. In fact, in 2021-2022, I served on Newfields’ CEO search committee when Dr. Burnette was unanimously recommended after a lengthy and thorough process. Dr. Burnette’s credentials and references were impeccable, and I’m deeply invested in her success.

Like so many in our city, I’ve been incredibly impressed and inspired by the progress that Dr. Burnette and her staff have made in just 15 months. In collaboration with many talented Indy creatives and artists, she and her team have quickly paved a way to begin to restore community trust by inviting long overdue representation and inclusive participation into our city’s glorious 152-acre Newfields campus.

Newfields boldly and loudly declared its commitment to “Building a stronger relationship with the people of Indianapolis.” Our residents responded in good faith and are again met with callous and cold communication fueling a cycle of trauma and harm—especially for members of our Black and Brown communities. 

We demand more information based on the positive impact that Dr. Burnette has had to date. 

Pictured: Dr. Colette Pierce Burnette speaks at an Indy Arts Council Artist Industry Night; photo courtesy of Newfields
Dr. Burnette has been a lightning rod of hope, healing, and progress at Newfields.
Julie Goodman, Indy Arts Council President & CEO