The PMA is proud to welcome Liz Cartland as our new Director of Development. Liz previously served as the Director of Annual Giving and Philanthropy at the Peabody-Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. We asked Liz a few questions about her exciting new transition.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your history with museum work. Can you talk about your connection to Maine? What do you love about Portland?
Although I grew up in Connecticut, I have always had a deep connection to Maine, where most of my family has its roots. As a child I ran around Scarborough Beach, in high school I spent summers working at a coastal resort, and was finally able to spend the full year in Maine when I attended Bowdoin College. When I left in 1999, I promised myself I would come back.
I went to college pre-med and took one art history class and it changed everything. As a child I was often exposed to museums and always enjoyed them, but it didn’t all come together until I sat in that dark classroom looking at slides, realizing I wanted to know more. In college I studied abroad in Florence and interned at PMA. From that point on, I was sure I would always work in museums and I that I wanted to come back to PMA someday!
After temping in the marketing department at the Museum of Fine Art, Boston, I moved into a fundraising position. It was clear that the development department was a place where I interacted the most with all aspects of a museum–curators, educators, designers, members, and visitors. I feel I can share my passion about art with others and work to bring people closer to the museum and its mission. I can strengthen the foundation of an institution by engaging people that want to be involved and make a difference, all while continuing my own learning.
To me, Portland is a perfect combination of big city and small town. It has the culture, restaurants, and opportunities of a big city, but the charm, friendliness, and community feeling of a small town. I love the lifestyle available in Portland and its proximity to both the ocean and the mountains!
What are you most looking forward to in your move to Maine and your new PMA role?
In my time away from Maine I have looked for every excuse to return, whether for a week or a weekend. I am most excited to call Maine home again and to be involved Portland’s community. It is such a vibrant cultural capital for the state of Maine and I am looking forward to doing my part to continue its sustainability and growth. I am looking forward to getting to know PMA better and the wonderful people that have aided in its amazing advancement.
In 1998, you worked at the PMA as the Biennial Intern. What type of art are you most interested in?
I have always been interested in photography and am amazed to watch as it advances with technology. I also really enjoy contemporary art and the opportunity to see what artists are influenced by today and how that impacts their work. I like experiencing anything sincere that teaches me or helps me to see the world in a different way.
What challenges do you see facing the PMA? What do you hope to accomplish here?
I think that PMA will face the same challenges that many cultural institutions and non-profit organizations do in this day and age. The economy continues to be challenging and there is always the constant need to attract new donors and visitors while continuing to engage our current supporters. I look forward to approaching these challenges in new and creative ways that will help PMA continue to grow into the future.
I am most looking forward to continuing the remarkable momentum the museum has seen lately after the successful conclusion of the Winslow Homer Studio campaign. It is an amazing institution with talented and dedicated staff. I am truly looking forward to joining the team.