Lisa Coscino, credited with revitalizing Museum of Monterey, ousted from director spot.

One Door Closes: Museum of Monterey officials say they’ve asked departing Executive Director Lisa Coscino, above, to stay on as a guest curator. She says she has yet to see anything in writing.

Change remains a constant at Monterey History and Art Association’s Museum of Monterey, 14 months after its grand reopening. The woman credited with the museum’s creative revitalization, Executive Director Lisa Coscino, is out; her staff are gone or will be soon. 

Current board president Mark Baer will take over the job pro bono, and current Monterey History and Art Association Treasurer Christine Sinnott will become board president. 

“There are three phases,” Sinnott says. “The first was to get the place back open. Last year’s was to get creative. That was very successful under Lisa.” 

The third, sustainability, means spending less money and bringing more in. “We don’t want to just depend on donors,” Sinnot says.

The MHAA board, which oversees the museum, met Sept. 12 with members to discuss the changes and the future. In October or November, the board will present its plans, along with an audit, to the Monterey City Council. 

“I’m hoping to see a clear explanation of their way forward and how they plan to stabilize their financial situation,” Monterey City Manager Fred Meurer says.

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Sinnott and Baer say Coscino’s asking salary was too high; Coscino counters that they didn’t try to negotiate salary with her.

“The [museum leadership] keeps telling everybody they’re going to keep doing what I did,” Coscino says. “Why don’t they want to do it with me?”

She says she wants to finish the work she started but is wary because of the recent upheavals. She’s not alone.

“[The museum] is a very valuable piece of city property, sitting at the crossroads of where millions of people pass by each year,” Meurer says. “They need to find a way of capitalizing on that.This is not a new problem for [MHAA].”

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