The University of Maine Museum of Art, located on Harlow Street in downtown Bangor, announced Tuesday morning that admission to the general public would again be free for all of 2013, thanks to a donation made by Penobscot Financial Advisors.
“We are pleased to announce a wonderful gift to the community, thanks to the generosity of Penobscot Financial,” said George Kinghorn, director and curator of the museum since 2008. “We’re very pleased that they have taken over the torch from Machias Savings Bank, who contributed to make this happen last year.”
Lauren Erdt, an advisor with of Penobscot Financial, noted the importance of making art accessible to every member of the community.
“We believe art plays a vitally important role in our community, and we’re excited to support such a quality organization,” Erdt said Tuesday morning.
Next year marks the fifth year running that a Maine business or organization has donated funds to provide free admission. Kinghorn said the free admission program has contributed in a large way to the museum’s nearly 400 percent increase in visitors, but preferred not to reveal any dollar amounts related to next year’s donation or those made in previous years. In the 2007 calendar year, the museum saw 3,931 visitors; for the 2012 calendar year, the museum saw 15,012 visitors.
“It’s also helped us to cultivate return visitors, because they can come in any time they want,” said Kinghorn. “We have over 3,800 works of art that are always in rotation, and we feature 16 different exhibits over the year, so there’s always something different here.”
Kinghorn also noted another donation to the museum just this month, with the anonymous gift of a color lithograph by the French modernist painter Marc Chagall, titled “Le Magicien de Paris II.” The new acquisition will be on display Jan. 18-March 20 in the permanent collection gallery.
The University of Maine Museum of Art is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday, and is located at 40 Harlow St. in downtown Bangor, on the lower floor of Norumbega Hall. Current exhibitions include “Susan Jane Belton: What’s Yours?” “Mayumi Sarai: Ring Cycle” and “Alan Bray: At The Edges.” On January 18, new exhibitions will go up, including “Michael Crouser: Dog Run,” “Robert Rivers: The Promised Land” and “Candice Ivy: Honey from the Belly of the Lion.” For information, visit http://umma.umaine.edu/exhibition/exhibitions.html.