Farnsworth Art Museum Appoints New Director
(Rockland, ME) Richard Aroneau, President of the Board of Trustees of the Farnsworth Art Museum, announced today the appointment of Christopher J. Brownawell as Director. Brownawell, who will join the museum on February 1, 2010, is currently the Director of the Academy Art Museum in Easton, Maryland, a position he has held since 1993.
“Chris Brownawell is a nationally recognized art museum director,” said Aroneau. “The Board is delighted that he has accepted our offer, and we look forward to working with Chris to help the Farnsworth realize its extraordinary potential. Under his leadership, the Academy Art Museum, which serves a community with many parallels to Rockland, significantly grew its collections, education programs, audiences, facilities and endowment. Chris directed two successful capital expansion programs adding 28,000 square feet of program space and raised over $25 million in support for the museum over his tenure.”
Brownawell received a B.A. in Art with emphasis in Art History from Wilkes College and a Master’s degree in Museum Education from George Washington University. Before joining the Academy Art Museum as Curator in 1988, he held positions with the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, and the Commonwealth Conservation Center during undergraduate and graduate internships.
“I am honored to have been asked to lead the Farnsworth,” Brownawell said. “I am excited to work with the board, staff and volunteers to continue presenting the highest quality programming to our broad and growing audiences. The Farnsworth’s outstanding collection, innovative exhibitions, and leading-edge education programs are testimonies to the achievements of the staff and the generosity of the community. The opportunity to help such a wonderful institution build an even brighter future while living in a place of breathtaking natural beauty and exceptional cultural leadership was irresistible.”
Brownawell is moving to midcoast Maine with his wife Carol and their three children. “As a child, some of my fondest moments were visits to the Philadelphia Museum of Art,” said Brownawell. “And I want both children and adults to have similar memories from their time in the Farnsworth’s galleries and education programs. Maine inspires great art, and that art inspires the imagination and creativity of all those who experience it.”
Brownawell succeeds Michael K. Komanecky, who has served as the museum’s Interim Director since January 2009 when Lora Urbanelli, then the Farnsworth’s Director, became Director of the Montclair Art Museum. “Michael has performed two jobs since Lora left,” said Aroneau. “He has continued his outstanding contributions as our Chief Curator, organizing the museum’s moving celebration in honor of Andrew Wyeth and producing such memorable exhibitions as Jamie Wyeth’s “Seven Deadly Sins” and “Robert Indiana and The Star of Hope.” At the same time, Michael performed all the tasks demanded of a Director with grace and distinction. As he returns to being a full-time Chief Curator, the Board wishes to express our deep appreciation for all that he has done for the museum over the past year.”
The Director Search Committee was chaired by Fred Kellogg and included Board members Richard Aroneau, Mary Collins, Mazie Cox, Vicki Goldstein, Ken Shure and former Board members Charles Altschul and Betsy Cohen. The Committee was assisted by Marilyn Hoffman of Museum Search & Reference, an executive-recruiting firm.