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Virtual | ArtTable’s Annual Leadership Series, with Stephanie A. Stebich

October 13 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Headshot of Stephanie A. Stebich

Women-identifying leaders in the arts are stepping down or being fired in larger proportions to their male counterparts. The issue was further exacerbated in the year 2020 when women, either by choice or circumstance, continued to leave the workforce in greater numbers than men. However, as the world began to reopen, more and more women came into leadership positions at large-scale arts organizations and institutions. In 2020, CultureType listed 54 Arts Leaders Who Took on New Appointments in 2020, 43 of whom are women. This past year, of approximately 75 new appointments to various leadership positions in the art world, 62 of them have been women, as noted by CultureType and ARTnews.

Despite the growing visibility of women in the art world, issues still plague the industry, such as the ongoing gender pay gap (as of now, women continue to earn approximately 73 cents for every dollar that men earn; the number is even lower for women of color, ranging from 55 to 62 cents for Latina, Native American, and Black women.), disparities in gender representation depending on operating budget (the majority of museums with budgets less than $15 million are run by a female rather than a male director; the reverse is true for museums with budgets of over $15 million, where female representation decreases as budget size increases), and the glass cliff phenomenon (the idea of women being placed in leadership positions during periods of crisis or downturn, when the chance of failure is highest, but under the pretense of providing an exciting professional opportunity). 

For this year’s Annual Leadership Series, we want to acknowledge and celebrate the incredible strides that women have made as leaders in the art world, but we also want to look to the future and ask ourselves, what still needs to be done, and how can we ensure women always have a seat at the table?

Please join us for what is sure to be an enlightening and thought-provoking discussion with women-identifying leaders in the art world with various perspectives on the issues. We will address questions including:

  1. What do these phenomena mean for women in the workforce, and particularly in the art world, both women leaving the workforce in greater numbers and the incredible amount of women being promoted to leadership positions?
  2. How do we advocate for women leaders from racially, ethnically, and socio-economically diverse backgrounds and reach greater gender parity in leadership roles? 
  3. The glass cliff is the phenomenon of women in leadership roles, such as executives in the corporate world and female political election candidates, being likelier than men to achieve leadership roles during periods of crisis or downturn, when the chance of failure is highest. Is this a phenomenon that we may have recently witnessed, with all of the significant appointments of woman-identifying leaders in the art world? Or are we finally, truly on the path to equality? Do women continue to be more vulnerable to career displacement than men? 
  4. What lessons have we learned, and how can we ensure lasting change?

The panel will be moderated by Stephanie A. Stebich, Director of theSmithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC. Additional panelists will be announced soon.

Please join us after the discussion for 10-15 minutes of virtual networking in Zoom Breakout Rooms. ArtTable programs are a time for members and non-members to connect with old friends and meet new people, both in-person and virtually. We hope you will stick around afterwards to discuss important themes from the conversation and talk about new ideas and insights.


  • ArtTable Members – $10 (ArtTable members may bring a guest for an additional $15)
  • Non-Members – $25

Not an ArtTable member? Join today!

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Can’t make the program at this time? Register anyway to receive a recording after!

Accessibility: Please note that this program will offer live closed captioning. If you require additional accommodations, please email programs@arttable.org.


  1. Stephanie A. Stebich, The Margaret and Terry Stent Director, Smithsonian American Art Museum; Photo credit: Smithsonian American Art Museum


October 13
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
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ArtTable National
212 343 1735 Ext 13


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