Welcome to "Your Museum, Reimagined," from the Judy and Leonard Lauder Director

Welcome to "Your Museum, Reimagined," from the Judy and Leonard Lauder Director

When I first started at the Portland Museum of Art in 2009, one of my major goals was to reinstall the collection. I knew it would be a long-term project and would require the efforts of many talented and generous people—but I also knew it was vital to bringing the PMA into this current moment in time. As Portland has emerged from one of the east coast’s best-kept secrets to a real player on the national and global stage, Portland’s museum needed to make a similar transition alongside it, opening itself up to welcome as wide a range of people as possible. It needed to be not only a safe space for personal moments with exceptional works of art, but also a brave space to champion freedom of expression. The museum needed to be reimagined.

After years of preparation, we have spent all of January reinstalling our entire collection—essentially, we built a new building, only without the building. Now that it’s finished, I am so proud and excited to share it with you. From the moment you check into the new Konkel Family Welcome Center, you’ll enjoy an experience unlike any we’ve offered. You’ll find more art on view than ever before. You’re going to see old favorites in new places, and presented in new ways. If you’re a first-time visitor, you’re going to want to come back, and if you’ve been a lifelong member, you’re going to fall in love all over again.

It couldn’t happen without the generosity of countless people, businesses, organizations, and government agencies; tireless work from our incredibly gifted staff members and volunteers; and of course, a tremendous Board of Trustees. I hope when you visit, you read the full list of donors and sponsors here and take pride in the fact that your community recognizes the importance in what we do—that art brings us together, is what makes us us, and needs to be supported now more than ever. I’m extremely grateful to live in such a community.

The most exciting thing about the completion of Your Museum, Reimagined is that it’s now out of our hands, and into yours. I can’t wait to learn what stories you tell with the collection, and what discoveries you make. 

Welcome to your new PMA.

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February 2, 2017
Judy and Leonard Lauder Director

Mark Bessire has been Judy and Leonard Lauder Director of the Portland Museum of Art since 2009. Before joining the PMA, Mark was Director of the Bates College Museum of Art in Lewiston, Maine, from 2003 to 2009, and Director of the Institute of Contemporary Art at the Maine College of Art in Portland, Maine, from 1998 to 2003. He was a Helena Rubinstein Fellow at the Whitney Museum of Art and a Fulbright Fellow in Tanzania, and holds an M.B.A. from Columbia University, an M.A. in art history from Hunter College, and a B.A. from New York University.