OMA executive director is reinstated

OMA executive director is reinstated
Daniel Foster will continue as museum executive director. OMA board members said they are thrilled to have Foster back. Photo by Promise Yee

OCEANSIDE — Daniel Foster was reinstated as the executive director of Oceanside Museum of Art (OMA) two weeks after announcing his resignation in June.

The short time between his resignation on approximately June 10 and reinstatement on about June 26 was too brief for the museum to appoint an interim executive director.

Board President Cheryl Weiner said it was as if Foster never left the position.

Over the past year and a half that Foster has served as executive director, OMA has curated in-house and off-site exhibits, established broader museum recognition, facilitated downtown arts and helped build regional arts collaboration in North County.

“It’s more than a museum in our minds,” Foster said of the museum staff and board of directors. “It’s an important visionary organization to transform arts in Oceanside.”

Momentum of the museum and downtown and regional projects had reached a peak when Foster resigned.

He said his temporary resignation was a personal decision to gain a better life and work balance. Tasks he took on his first year and a half proved to be exciting and time consuming.

“It’s an epidemic challenge of modern life,” Foster said. “Mine became a public display. I gained a lot of humility last month.”

Foster said the decision to resign caused him to do some soul searching.

He said after he accepted a position with another nonprofit, he felt a great loss, and asked the museum board of directors if he could have his job back.

“My heart was breaking for my love of the museum, and the good work left to be done,” Foster said.

Weiner said the board welcomed Foster back.

“I was thrilled he made that decision,” Weiner said. “We all think he’s fantastic. He has definate passion and a wonderful vision. We’re certainly richer for having him.”

Foster said during his two weeks of reflection he realized he could do his job and gain more personal time by being judicial about which projects he takes on.

With the groundwork laid in establishing the museum’s vision, outreach projects, citywide arts and regional collaboration, he said he is comfortable asking others to take on more responsibilities.

“We invested a lot up front to get the ball rolling,” Foster said of museum staff and the board of directors. “Now it’s time to share the work, excitement, vision and balance the workload.”

Next steps will include reassigning staff responsibilities and calling on volunteers and museum partners to pick up some of the workload.

Foster said he is currently in negotiations with the museum board of directors on the terms of a formal contract.

“I’m definitely staying on board,” Foster said.

“I’m very renewed and energized.”

He added pay and compensation are not factors in the negotiations, and he has told the board he would not take a pay increase at this time.

“It’s not one shred of the reason why I left, nor why I came back,” Foster said. “It’s not about the money to me.”

“Nonprofits depend on charitable donations. Money is going to good programs not to an executive’s increased salary.”

Foster began the job of museum executive director in October 2012, and accepted the position at a $10,000 pay cut from his previous salary.

He said his responsibility as executive director is to help the museum realize what it can become.

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