“Museums are an absolutely essential fabric of any city or campus,” says Brian Ferriso ’88, the Executive Director at the Portland Art Museum in Portland, Oregon. Born in Brunswick to a naval family, Ferriso grew up in New Jersey and later developed a passion for painting and drawing at Bowdoin. Although an economics major, Ferriso credits studio art professor Mark Wethli for being an important mentor and influence during his undergraduate years. “That voice to pursue the arts had always been there,” admits Mr. Ferriso, “and it wasn’t until after Bowdoin that I realized I could make that voice a profession.” After graduating with an MA in Arts Administration from New York University and AM in Art History from the University of Chicago, Ferriso pursued the business side of fine arts by working in museums in Newark, Chicago, Milwaukee, and Tulsa. Ferriso attests to the importance of museums, referring to them as “visual libraries that document the knowledge and creative legacy of our shared humanity.” In his current position in Portland, Ferriso’s favorite part of the job is getting a piece of work physically up on the wall. This final stage represents the culmination of exhaustive work from numerous departments within a museum. “To get just one piece of work up on the wall,” Ferriso asserts, “is the most gratifying experience.” For Ferriso, this gratifying feeling is the result of pursuing that creative voice developed at Bowdoin that has led him to a prominent career working in museums.
Julián Huertas ’16