Barry Mills: An Artful President

Barry Mills displays t-shirt celebrating the re-opening of the BCMA in 2007.

Barry Mills displays t-shirt celebrating the re-opening of the
BCMA in 2007.

At the end of June, Bowdoin will pay a fond farewell to President Barry Mills, who concludes a remarkable fourteen-year tenure at the College. Under his leadership, the arts at Bowdoin College have flourished. As President Mills wraps up, the College can now claim a campus encircled by arts-dedicated edifices, thanks to three that were developed during his tenure: the Studzinski Recital Hall (opened 2007), the Robert H. and Blythe Bickel Edwards Center for Art and Dance (opened 2013), and, of course, the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, renovated between 2005 and 2007 by the architects Machado and Silvetti Associates. The sensitive renovation and expansion of the 1894 Charles McKim-designed building carefully preserved the integrity of the historic structure. The $20.8 million project undertaken by Machado and Silvetti increased the Museum’s size by 63

Maine Governor John Baldacci and Barry Mills at the ribbon cutting for the renovated BCMA in 2007.

Maine Governor John Baldacci and Barry Mills at the ribbon cutting for the renovated BCMA in 2007.

percent, from 19,980 to 32,550 square feet. Exhibition space saw a significant boost, with the number of galleries increasing from nine to fourteen. A seminar room was added. Improved storage and environmental controls have enhanced the museum’s capacity to exhibit and acquire important work of all periods from all parts of the world. Perhaps most important, the renovation further opened the Museum to the world beyond Bowdoin. A glass curtain wall now overlooks Park Row, inviting the public to enjoy Museum’s Assyrian reliefs and other treasures. The new pavilion boasts flanking entrances from the College quadrangle and from the street. President Mills’s words at the time of the reopening will long continue to guide and inspire

Barry Mills enjoys a moment with artist Richard Tuttle at the BCMA 2014.

Barry Mills enjoys a moment with artist Richard Tuttle at the BCMA 2014.

the many future generations who will benefit from his dedication to the arts and to Bowdoin: “Our belief is that a liberal arts education is the best way to shape informed and responsible citizens for our society and the world. In this respect, the re-opened Bowdoin College Museum of Art will be a vital cultural resource for our students, faculty, and community. The restoration re-affirms the College’s centuries of dedication to great art and architecture, while the expansion is a prominent example of our continued commitment to arts and culture.”

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