April 25, 2018
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Portland art museum names new director

By From Staff Reports, Special to the BDN

PORTLAND, Maine — Mark Bessire, the director of the Bates College Museum of Art in Lewiston, has been named the new director of the Portland Museum of Art.

Bessire will begin his new position March 2, the Portland museum announced Thursday.

His accomplishments at the Bates museum, which is best known for its Marsden Hartley Memorial Collection, include initiating a Collections Project Series, working with other departments to create cross-disciplinary exhibitions, exhibiting Chinese art and strengthening the Friends of the Museum program. He also served as a lecturer in the humanities and chairman of the committee on public art.

Previously Bessire was the director of the Institute of Contemporary Art at the Maine College of Art in Portland.

Bessire replaces Daniel O’Leary, who resigned in May 2008 to take over the museum’s Winslow Homer Studio Project in Prouts Neck. Deputy director Thomas Denenberg had been serving as the museum’s acting director.

“I look forward to the opportunity to lead the museum at this critical point in its history,” Bessire said in a release.

Bessire’s published work includes three books with MIT Press. His coming publication, “Stairway to Heaven: From Chinese Streets to Monuments and Skyscrapers,” will be published this year by University Press of New England.

He is married to Aimee Bessire, an associate professor at the Maine College of Art.

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