Fred Bidwell, Interim Director
Fred Bidwell is the retired Executive Chairman of JWT/OgilvyAction, a national advertising agency serving leading brands with more than 500 employees. In addition to serving as a trustee and member of the Executive Committee of the Cleveland Museum of Art, Fred has twice been Board President of the Akron Art Museum and has been an active supporter of numerous other arts institutions in Northeast Ohio and beyond. In 2013, Fred and Laura Bidwell were awarded the Cleveland Arts Prize Martha Joseph Award for Distinguished Service to the Arts.
In 2011, Fred and his wife Laura established the Fred and Laura Ruth Bidwell Foundation to share their collection and foster creativity and innovation through the arts. The Bidwell Foundation’s major project is the Transformer Station, a new arts and exhibition space in the Ohio City neighborhood of Cleveland which opened in early 2013. In a unique private/public partnership, the Bidwell Foundation operates the facility and lends the space for half of each year to the Cleveland Museum of Art to stage contemporary art exhibitions and projects. During the six months of the year that the Bidwell Foundation operates the Transformer Station space, the Bidwells will curate exhibitions based on their collection.
After graduating from Oberlin College with an art history major, Fred worked as a commercial and fine arts photographer before changing his career to advertising. He joined Malone Advertising, Inc. in Akron, OH in 1982 and became President and CEO in 1996. In 2005, Bidwell sold the agency to J. Walter Thompson (part of WPP Group, Dublin) and remained with the company as Chief Executive Officer. In 2010, he combined Malone Advertising with Ogilvy Action to create JWT/OgilvyAction, a joint venture between Ogilvy & Mather and J. Walter Thompson.