Meet the Team: Senior Philanthropic Advisor Marney Hupper

Farnsworth Senior Philanthropic Advisor Marney Hupper

Marney Hupper has been coming to Maine since she was three weeks old. She and her family would travel to Maine from Wilton, Connecticut to a remote island in the Eggemoggin Reach off Deer Isle every summer, which was only accessible by small boat. In the early years there was no running water and they frequently bathed in tide pools. She recalls spending her days reading, exploring and learning to appreciate her surroundings sailing in a small wooden boat with her siblings and friends. Through her parents’ guidance and encouragement, she and her siblings learned to eat off the land, harvesting mussels, digging clams, foraging for mushrooms and picking sea blite, an edible salty sea plant which blooms from July to October and fishing for mackerel, flounder, and dog fish. Marney spent much of her time sailing in her Beetle Cat and fondly remembers waving to other solo sailors out in the bay including E.B. White who would sail his wooden boat “Martha” almost daily. She learned from a young age to appreciate her surroundings in this natural and wildly beautiful environment, filled with light and water. Marney’s father is an architect and she was brought to art museums from an early age, which helped to instill in her a love and appreciation of art and museums. Marney studied art history in college and worked at both the National Gallery of Art in Washington and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston handling Special Events and Development. In college she met her husband who also grew up with strong family ties to Maine. They have been coming to the Farnsworth and Tenants Harbor for over thirty years. They have shared their love of Maine and its quiet beauty with their sons, and instilled in them a strong sense of independence and appreciation of their environment.

Most recently, Marney ran a non profit organization in South Africa named Sumbandila, which in Venda means ‘Show The Way’. The program brought strong students from extreme poverty in rural African communities to a school in South Africa and provided them with schooling along with an eight year mentorship program in an effort to help build future leaders who would make significant contributions to their own communities. The program encouraged students to return home each weekend to maintain their community ties, while celebrating their individual heritage and backgrounds. She spent many weeks of the year in Africa and was profoundly impressed by the students’ appreciation of life she describes as the ‘opposite of entitlement.’

After living in many parts of the country, it seemed a natural choice to settle permanently in Maine, splitting their time between Belfast and Tenants Harbor. Marney joined the Farnsworth Art Museum as Senior Philanthropic Advisor in 2022. She has a keen interest in Contemporary Art and it was through visits to the studios of artists Lois Dodd, Ann Craven, and John Bisbee that she met Farnsworth staff. She found their vision and excitement for moving the Farnsworth collection and engagement forward inspiring. Now, as a part of the Advancement team, she helps to match donor interests to a wide variety of museum initiatives. When she is not at the museum, Marney enjoys home building projects, tending to her vegetable garden, and sailing.

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