Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Leather Archives and Museum Executive Director finalists announced

Leather Archives and Museum Executive Director finalists announced

Candidates offer years of experience in leadership and leather, kink, BDSM, and fetish communities

Chicago, Ill. — Three leather, kink, BDSM, and fetish veterans have been selected as finalists for Leather Archives and Museum (LA&M) executive director effective next year.   

Jeffrey Storer, experienced director of operations, Gary Wasdin, veteran library director and executive director, and Alisa Swindell, active lecturer, curator, and research assistant, have been chosen from a highly qualified field of candidates.  Storer, Wasdin, and Swindell were chosen from a field of 66 candidates and 5 semi-finalists.  

“We are fortunate to have three highly motivated and extremely qualified candidates ready to continue the Leather Archives and Museum’s longstanding tradition of preserving our history and making it accessible to our community,” said Randall “Bear Man” Klett, Search Committee Chairperson. “Our new executive director will play a crucial role in helping shape the future of our institution.”

Bear Man continued, “It is important for people from across all our communities, not just people in Chicago to be engaged in the selection process.  I strongly encourage everyone help the Search Committee by submitting questions the Committee can use during the on site interviews.  Please submit questions by Nov 28 at:

Storer will have a site visit at the LA&M on Friday, December 1, Wasdin will have a site visit on Saturday, December 2, and Swindell on Sunday, December 3.  During their site visits, the candidates will have the opportunity to meet with staff, donors, volunteers, and community members. 

Each candidate will host a Member’s Only VIP lunch reception from 12:30 – 2:00pm where current members of the LA&M are encouraged to meet the candidates.  Non-members and general members of the community will also have an opportunity to meet with the candidates.  This portion of the site visit will take place at the LA&M Auditorium and will also be broadcast on Facebook live for Jeff on Dec 1 - 7:00 - 7:40CST, for Gary on Dec 2 - 3:40 - 4:20CST, and for Alisa on Dec 3 - 3:40 - 4:20CST.
Final site visit schedule will be released soon and posted on  
“These three qualified finalists make me highly confident that the Archives will be in the hands of an experienced and passionate leader,” said LA&M Board of Directors President and Search Committee Member, Bob Behr.

The LA&M Board of Directors is expected to approve the Search Committee’s recommendation on the new executive director on Sunday, December 10.   

Jeffrey Storer is a Chicago native with over 35 years of professional experience in various management roles including over 14 years in non-profit management. Jeff started his Leather Archives and Museum (LA&M) journey in 2001 as a LA&M volunteer at International Mr. Leather (IML). Afterwards, he went on to work at Man’s Country performing building maintenance, which included building maintenance for the LA&M, while also managing his own construction & home improvement/inspection business. In 2003, Jeff concluded his own business to become the Director of Operations of the LA&M.
Gary Wasdin brings over 2 decades of experience working in libraries and fundraising. He is currently working as a library consultant, providing strategic planning and organizational development services to public and academic libraries. Prior to this, Gary held senior administrative positions with the King Co. Libraries in Seattle, WA, Omaha (NE) Public Library, New York Public Library and University of Alabama. Gary holds a BA in Theater form Augusta (GA) College, and an MLS and MS in English from Southern CT State University. He currently lives in Omaha, NE. 
Alisa Swindell is a resident of Chicago and an active scholar, activist, and curator. For over 15 years she has worked with various arts and academic non-profit organizations, including as a consultant and volunteer with the Leather Archives and Museum since 2003. She curated the exhibition Excavating Experience: The Presence of LGBTQ People of Color in Cook County, IL for the institution in 2016. She holds graduate degrees in Arts Administration and Art History with research concentrations in sexuality, gender, and race in visual culture. She has held curatorial and programming roles at museums and galleries in Chicago and St. Louis, MO, has been published in a diverse selection of art and culture journals, and lectures and conducts community education programs regularly.
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Founded in 1991, in just 26 years the Leather Archives & Museum has become recognized worldwide as a significant center dedicated to the compilation, preservation, and maintenance of primary materials on the leather, kink, BDSM and fetish communities and their cultures in both physical and electronic formats. Our museum galleries serve to present educational and historical material that highlights the silent histories of marginalized and under-represented communities.

The Archives is located on Greenview Avenue in Chicago near Loyola University.  The building houses the Teri Rose Library with holdings of over 3,000 books and 12,600 journals and periodicals, searchable by an online catalog, 1425 sq. ft. archival storage space, and eight exhibit galleries. Among its ongoing endeavors are the Women’s Leather History Program, a gallery with rotating exhibits that celebrate contemporary artists who inspire dialogues related to Leather, kink, BDSM and fetish and a community space used for programming and special events.  The LA&M is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a charity under the 501 c (3) provisions of the Internal Revenue Code.  Nearly all income is derived from the generous support of member organizations within the leather/kink/BDSM/fetish communities.
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