Thursday, January 15, 2009

Bessire named director of Portland museum

Mark Bessire has been named the new director of the Portland Museum of Art, the Maine institution announced today. He is expected to begin work on March 2, filling the shoes of Daniel O’Leary, who stepped down in May.

Bessire has been director of the Bates College Museum of Art in Lewiston, Maine, since 2003. He was director of the Institute of Contemporary Art at the Maine College of Art in Portland from 1998 to 2003. (In 2006, The New York Times reported that Bessire was “one name that has repeatedly surfaced” as a front-runner for the director’s post of the Dia Art Foundation.)

“I look forward to the opportunity to lead the museum at this critical point in its history,” Bessire said in a press release. “The acquisitions of the Winslow Homer Studio, the Charles Q. Clapp House, and the property at 87 Spring Street all demand a clear articulation of the museum’s mission and aspirations in order to determine the next exciting stage of its growth. Developing these priorities will enable us to expand audiences, attract donors, and build the collection to make the Portland Museum of Art one of the most vibrant museums in America.”

Bessire resides in Portland with his wife, Aimée Bessire, associate professor at Maine College of Art, and their two children.

A profile of Bessire in a 2004 Bates publication.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mark Bessire is a wonderful and surprisingly daring choice to head up PMA. He's bright, engaged, and knows the contemporary scene well. Coming out of academia though, he's going to have to learn the fundraising ropes and I wonder how he'll handle mounting the crowdpleasers that a public museum wants.
Go get'em, Mark.

January 16, 2009 9:34 AM  

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