Portland Museum of Art raises funds for expansion

PORTLAND, Maine — The Portland Museum of Art on Monday launched a campaign to raise $85 million for a project to accommodate a growing collection and growing visitor numbers.

The museum will replace or significantly expand the building where the old children’s museum was located, the Portland Press Herald reported. The art museum purchased this building in 2019.

As early as 2014, the museum conducted a survey of the cluster of buildings and land it occupies near Congress Square to draw up a master plan for expansion that will allow it to welcome between 300,000 and 500,000 visitors per year. .

The museum is in a good financial position, its director Mark Bessire told the newspaper.

“Right now, because of our growth, the real risk is not building,” he said. “We are at full capacity. If museums don’t continue to grow, if you go backwards, it can take a generation to recover.

In 2020, its tax return showed the museum had $73 million in assets and an annual budget of about $8 million. The endowment also rose from $32 million to $46 million in five years, according to the newspaper.

The art museum’s collection includes important Maine painters like Winslow Homer and Andrew Wyeth as well as impressionists and contemporary artists like Nan Golden. It closed for most of 2020 because of the pandemic, the newspaper reported.

Bessire said there is no timetable for the project yet, but a competition to select an architect will begin after the launch of the fundraising campaign.

Mildred D. Field