Amanda Lahikainen Named Director of OMAA

Posted in museums by Editor on April 3, 2020

Press release (2 April 2020) from the Ogunquit Museum of American Art in Maine (Lahikainen’s scholarship to date has focused on late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century print culture, including the reception and representation of paper money in Britain, ‘imitation banknotes’ during the Romantic period, and British representations of the French Revolution in graphic satire). . .

David Mallen, President of the Board of the Ogunquit Museum of American Art (OMAA) announced today that Amanda Lahikainen, PhD, has been appointed as the museum’s new Executive Director, effective May 1, 2020. The board unanimously approved the appointment on March 23, 2020.

Dr. Lahikainen is currently Chair of the Art Department and a tenured Associate Professor of Art History at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she oversees the art gallery. Mallen said, “After a nationwide search, we are delighted to have selected Amanda as our next Executive Director. She is a gifted administrator and scholar.”

Dr. Lahikainen holds a PhD in art history from Brown University and a BA from Wellesley College. She oversaw and co-curated exhibitions at her college gallery and the Bell Gallery at Brown University, and has worked with local museums in Grand Rapids including the Grand Rapids Art Museum and the Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park. She held the Kluge Fellowship at the Library of Congress in 2012 and has attracted grants and fellowships from the Paul Mellon Centre and the Lewis Walpole Library at Yale University. She previously taught at Brown University, Rhode Island College, and Roger Williams University, and she has worked or studied in London and Athens. She is widely published and has lectured and participated on panels across the US and in Canada and Australia.

Mallen added, “Amanda’s credentials are exceptional and will further strengthen the OMAA as we aim to expand our audiences and make our museum even better known. Amanda will relocate to Maine with her family from Grand Rapids. She grew up in Salem and has a summer home in Maine, so she is eager to live year-round in a region she knows and loves.”

Dr. Lahikainen said, “I am honored to lead OMAA with its wonderful collection, its sculpture garden, and strong sense of place. The museum is an important and beloved asset of the region and has a wonderful record of recent growth and accomplishment under my predecessor Michael Mansfield. The commitment of the Board is inspiring. While I have been happy and successful at Aquinas College, this is an opportunity I could not resist when recruited. I look forward to working with the board, staff, volunteers, and the community of artists and donors in Ogunquit and beyond to lead the next exciting chapter in the museum’s life.”

Dr. Lahikainen will replace Interim Executive Director Richard D’Abate, who Mallen said, “has led the museum strongly through the transition, and we are very grateful for his service.” D’Abate was appointed following former Executive Director Michael Mansfield’s appointment as President of Maine Media Workshops and College in Rockport, Maine on December 15, 2019.

Mallen stated, “The OMAA maintains its momentum as a strong and innovative institution, and we are excited for its future. The museum recently rehung the permanent collection and continues with exhibitions, performances, and publications. Its lecture series set attendance records in 2019. The 2020 exhibition season, now tentatively scheduled to begin May 31st, is planned with exciting shows, performances and lectures, subject, of course, to the coronavirus situation.

The search committee was chaired by former board member Diana Joyner and included Board President David Mallen and board members Chris Caraviello, Ann Ramsey-Jenkins, Carol Leary, Robyn LeBuff, and Alan Shepard. The museum retained Principal Marilyn Hoffman and Senior Search Consultant Scott Stevens of Museum Search & Reference, an executive search firm in Manchester, New Hampshire and Boston to conduct the national search.

The Ogunquit Museum of American Art was founded by Lost Generation artist Henry Strater and opened in 1953. Closely tied to one of the earliest art colonies of the American modernist art movement, OMAA today houses a permanent collection of important paintings, sculpture, drawings, prints, and photographs from the late 1800s to the present. The museum honors Strater’s vision to preserve and showcase American art by mounting innovative modern and contemporary exhibition programs each year from May through October. OMAA and its three-acre seaside sculpture gardens overlook Narrow Cove and the Atlantic Ocean

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