BMA Director Doreen Bolger, 2007. Photo by Joe Rubino.
BMA Director Doreen Bolger, 2007. Photo by Joe Rubino.

Second largest individual gift in museum’s history will endow BMA Director’s position

BALTIMORE, MD (September 17, 2007) — The Baltimore Museum of Art announced today that it has received a $5 million gift from an anonymous donor to endow the position of the Museum’s Director. This important gift establishes the first permanent endowment fund for the Museum’s top executive, and is also the second largest individual gift in the BMA’s history.

The gift is being presented in honor of the 10th anniversary of BMA Director Doreen Bolger’s appointment, which was announced on October 23, 1997. The museum’s Director is responsible for articulating the vision for the future, stewarding its financial resources, and serving as its public face and primary advocate in the community. Gifts to the endowment generate annual income that protects and sustains the museum’s growth and vitality.

“This extraordinary gift was inspired by BMA Director Doreen Bolger’s outstanding leadership of the Museum during the past decade,” said BMA Board Chair Stiles Tuttle Colwill. “We are extremely grateful for the incredible generosity of this gift, as it ensures the BMA will always be able to attract and retain the best leadership for and remain in the forefront of museums in this country.”

“I am very honored to be the first endowed Director at the BMA,” said Director Doreen Bolger. “A gift like this not only helps secure the museum’s financial future, it also advances the level of artistic excellence and community engagement for which the BMA has become known.”

Doreen Bolger was named Director of The Baltimore Museum of Art in 1997, after a six-month national search. Some of the highlights during her tenure at the museum include the launch of free admission; celebrated reinstallations of the world-renowned Cone and European art collections; acclaimed nationally traveling exhibitions such as Matisse: Painter as Sculptor (opening at the BMA in October 2007), Pissarro: Creating the Impressionist Landscape, and SlideShow; and acquisitions of many important works of art, including a substantial number by African-American artists.

Under Bolger’s direction, the BMA completed a bold Strategic Plan in 2003, and in 2005 introduced its first Architectural Master Plan since John Russell Pope’s original design in 1929. Her outstanding financial stewardship and fundraising successes have resulted in a balanced budget each year, and a program for upper-level donors that has grown 300 percent—generating more than $1 million during the last fiscal year.

As an active member of the community, Bolger serves on WYPR’s Community Advisory Board as well as the boards of the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance and the Maryland Citizens for the Arts. She has also initiated several collaborations with other cultural and educational organizations in the region, and expanded the museum’s partnership with The Johns Hopkins University.

Prior to her appointment at the BMA, Bolger served as Director of the Museum of Art at the Rhode Island School of Design. Her long curatorial career began at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, where she worked for 15 years, and then at the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, Texas. She earned an M.A. from the University of Delaware, Newark, and a Ph.D. in Art History from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and she has published extensively on American painting, drawings, and decorative arts.

About the Baltimore Museum of Art

Founded in 1914, the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) inspires people of all ages and backgrounds through exhibitions, programs, and collections that tell an expansive story of art—challenging long-held narratives and embracing new voices. Our outstanding collection of more than 97,000 objects spans many eras and cultures and includes the world’s largest public holding of works by Henri Matisse; one of the nation’s finest collections of prints, drawings, and photographs; and a rapidly growing number of works by contemporary artists of diverse backgrounds. The museum is also distinguished by a neoclassical building designed by American architect John Russell Pope and two beautifully landscaped gardens featuring an array of modern and contemporary sculpture. The BMA is located three miles north of the Inner Harbor, adjacent to the main campus of Johns Hopkins University, and has a community branch at Lexington Market. General admission is free so that everyone can enjoy the power of art.

Download PDF

Press Contacts

For media in Baltimore:

Anne Brown
Baltimore Museum of Art
Senior Director of Communications

Sarah Pedroni
Baltimore Museum of Art
Communications Manager

For media outside Baltimore:

Alina Sumajin
PAVE Communications