Under the leadership of Suzette McAvoy ’80, the Center for Maine Contemporary Art (CMCA) opened its doors this summer at its new location in Rockland.
As the CMCA’s executive director and chief curator, McAvoy oversaw the fundraising and construction of the $5 million, 11,630-square foot building, designed by internationally acclaimed architect Toshiko Mori.
As Art New England notes in “Reborn In Rockland: The New Center For Maine Contemporary Art Opens,” the building’s “exterior is made of reflective glass, stainless steel and zinc. Its striking presence enhances the small city’s reputation as one of Maine’s top year-round arts destinations, elevating it to a new level of urbanity and sophistication.”
“By creating this exciting, larger platform to showcase contemporary art, my hope is that the new CMCA will bring greater awareness to the important role the arts play in Maine, both within the state and beyond,” McAvoy says.
With more than 30 years of experience in the art history field, McAvoy joined the CMCA as director in 2010, having served as chief curator of the Farnsworth Art Museum, also in Rockland. She has lectured and written extensively on the art and artists of Maine and has organized national traveling exhibitions of the work of Louise Nevelson, Alex Katz, Kenneth Noland, Lois Dodd, Karl Schrag and Alan Magee. Prior to moving to Maine in 1988, she was the director of the University of Rhode Island Art Galleries. She has also worked at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University.
After earning a B.A. in art history from William Smith, McAvoy spent a year at the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History in the Objects Processing Facility, photographing, writing condition reports, and cataloging. She earned her M.A. in museum studies from the Cooperstown Graduate Program at the State University of New York Oneonta, where she focused on American painting and fine art, and developed her interest in American folk art.