Bank funds UMMA admission program

Posted Jan. 13, 2009, at 5:34 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Any bank seeing a 46 percent return on an investment would call those numbers terrific news, especially during the current economic downturn.

That’s one of the reasons Machias Savings Bank has decided to renew its support of the University of Maine Museum of Art in the form of another year of free admission to the museum located on Harlow Street.

It was one of two major announcements made by UMMA director George Kinghorn Tuesday. He also unveiled the museum’s new logo, which Kinghorn hopes will increase downtown visibility and strengthen the ties between the museum and the university.

Machias Savings Bank gave a $5,000 gift to fund the admission program, which is in its second year. The museum experienced a 46 percent increase in attendance, with 5,000 visitors last year, which Kinghorn said is tied to the free admission program. That includes more than 2,000 first-time museum visitors.

“When you have numbers, in these economic times, of a 46 percent increase in attendance, it shows the community was crying out for this opportunity,” said Jim Donnelley, a Machias Savings Bank senior regional vice president. “… From school-age children to retirees, we’re all able to enjoy world-class art that’s available to us here in Bangor, Maine.”

Admission is usually $3.

Machias Savings Bank has made both of its gifts in honor of Ted Leonard, a Bangor lawyer who with his wife, Sandra Blake Leonard, was a longtime supporter of the museum. Ted Leonard died in 2007.

The museum is also honoring Ted Leonard through its new Leonard Lecture Series, which kicks off Jan. 21 with a talk by painter and printmaker John Bailly. Bailly’s work is one of three new exhibits that open Friday in the museum.

Kinghorn hopes the new logo also will be a draw.

“The old logo was very elegant in its design but with the new objective of ensuring that the museum is open and accessible for our visitors, a change in logo was important,” he said.

The new logo is meant to resemble two corners of a frame or a portal, with the implication that the museum is open to all. For colors, the designers used two variations on the university’s signature blues to emphasize the connection between the museum and the school.

The new logo is a change from the UMMA abbreviation, which was the prominent graphic in the old logo.

In talks with a focus group, Kinghorn said people were sometimes confused with the logo considering how close the abbreviation is to area institutions such as EMMC (Eastern Maine Medical Center) and UMA (University of Maine-Augusta).

“In the new logo we have the [words] ‘museum’ and ‘art,’ the two main ingredients, very prominent so there’s no mistaking what the institution is,” Kinghorn said. “One of my goals is to increase the visibility. As visitors come in, as they’re driving by, now with the new logo you really know where the museum is.”

The design team included Mike Mardosa, a senior designer in the UMaine relations department, Val Williams, the manager of creative services in university relations, and Joe Carr, the director of university relations.

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