Another top executive is leaving the Mint Museum

Mint Museum chief operating officer Toni Freeman is leaving the uptown visual arts museum to start a new job July 17 at the Arts and Science Council in Charlotte.
Mint Museum chief operating officer Toni Freeman is leaving the uptown visual arts museum to start a new job July 17 at the Arts and Science Council in Charlotte.

The Mint Museum faces vacancies in its top two leadership positions.

Toni Freeman, a longtime local executive working in philanthropy and not-for-profit finance sectors, is stepping down from the museum’s No. 2 job, chief operating officer, to join Charlotte’s Arts and Science Council.

She starts July 17 as executive vice president for community engagement, the council announced Friday.

Freeman’s upcoming departure follows Mint President/CEO Kathleen Jameson leaving the museum on June 30. Jameson hired Freeman at the Mint in early 2012 to the then-newly-created COO job.

Mint Museum president/CEO Kathleen Jameson is leaving the museum in June. T. Ortega Gaines ogaines@charlotteobserver.com

The museum, Freeman said Friday, is “in a great position, which makes me even more comfortable about leaving.”

Although the Mint now faces back-to-back departures of its two highest-ranking executives, Freeman said operations are in good hands with the board of trustees and remaining employees.

“We have other members of the leadership team who have been here before we got here,” she said.

Freeman said the board anticipates appointing an interim CEO before launching a national search.

The Arts and Science Council is Charlotte’s designated arts and culture agency, funded by local tax dollars and private donations to support local museums, educational programs, volunteers and individual artists. Freeman will be second-in-command at the council, in charge of marketing and fundraising efforts.

The council and the Mint have had a close financial relationship for more than five decades, with similar programming and outreach goals. Annually, the council funnels about $1 million in donated money to the Mint for operations and programming.

The council recently shifted its focus to providing grant funding for smaller organizations and using its resources to start new creative and educational programs in public schools and neighborhoods, said Robert Bush, president of the Arts and Science Council.

“The opportunity to be involved in a broader, influential environment where we’re thinking about culture for the entire region and not just one institution is very attractive,” Freeman said of the job change.

Bush said he and Freeman are friends and have worked together for many years.

“She’s going to help us chart a new path in this whole area,” he said.

The Arts and Science Council opened a national search for candidates to fill the executive vice president job, which has been open since January. Charlotte-based executive head-hunting firm Coleman Lew and Associates led the search process.

Previously, Freeman oversaw donor and business relations at MeckEd and held a senior grants position at the Duke Endowment. She also previously worked at the Charlotte Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Anna Douglas: 704-358-5078, @ADouglasNews