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Mattress Factory executive director to step down in April

The Mattress Factory art museum has been a fixture on the North Side for more than 40 years
Bill O'Driscoll
90.5 WESA
The Mattress Factory art museum has been a fixture on the North Side for more than 40 years

The executive director of Pittsburgh’s Mattress Factory contemporary art museum will depart in April after three years on the job.

Hayley Haldeman took over in 2019, during a turbulent period following the death of museum founder Barbara Luderowski andallegations that museum leadership had retaliated against staff who criticized how administrators handled claims of sexual harassment and sexual assault.

“My primary focus has been to ensure the Museum’s long-term sustainability,” said Haldeman in a statement. “Today, thanks to an incredible staff, Board and community, I am confident the museum is now ready for a transition to a new, dynamic arts leader who is equally committed to the Mattress Factory’s four-decade legacy of supporting artists.”

Prior to being chosen as interim executive director of the internationally known museum, in 2019, Haldeman was a litigator with the Pittsburgh office of Jones Day and board member of the North Side-based museum.

In December 2018, before Haldeman’s arrival and while the museum was being led by acting director Judith O’Toole, the museum settled privately with four staffers who had filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board. But Haldeman had to work to rebuild the museum’s reputation and internal operations.

In a statement, the museum credited her with eliminating a projected budget deficit of $375,000 in her first 10 months on the job and strengthening “administrative and governance measures at the staff and Board level.”

Haldeman also completed a new strategic plan for the museum, and led new and expanded initiatives in the community and the North Side. She also guided the Mattress Factory through the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, during which the museum, which specializes in installation art, has opened three new exhibits to date. She was named executive director in late 2020.

“Hayley Haldeman was exactly the right person at the right time to transition the Mattress Factory from a founder-led treasure to a forward-focused organization enhancing best practices,” said board president Michael White in a statement. “On behalf of the Board of Directors, we extend our eternal gratitude to her and express our excitement for the museum’s next chapter.”

Haldeman’s husband is Democratic U.S. Rep. and U.S. Senate candidate Conor Lamb.

The museum says it has hired a national firm to search for a new executive director.

Bill is a long-time Pittsburgh-based journalist specializing in the arts and the environment. Previous to working at WESA, he spent 21 years at the weekly Pittsburgh City Paper, the last 14 as Arts & Entertainment editor. He is a graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and in 30-plus years as a journalist has freelanced for publications including In Pittsburgh, The Nation, E: The Environmental Magazine, American Theatre, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Bill has earned numerous Golden Quill awards from the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania. He lives in the neighborhood of Manchester, and he once milked a goat. Email: