By Ron Crusan
I often get asked, “What do you do all winter while the OMAA is closed?” After our season ends October 31, I don’t pack up and head to Florida to wait for our May 1 opening (appealing as that may seem on a 20 degree Maine-in-January day). In fact, I and a full complement of staff work here at the OMAA year-round. Amid the empty galleries and snow-covered sculpture gardens, the staff and I have been busy conducting our year-end appeal, soliciting lapsed members, preparing next year’s budget, finalizing the 2016 exhibitions and programs (more on that soon!), developing event schedules and marketing plans, and compiling end-of-season statistics. For instance, you may be interested to know that in 2015, 22 percent of surveyed new visitors said word-of-mouth brought them to the museum. Thank you and keep spreading the word!
During post-season meetings, the OMAA staff agreed that our new Totally Tuesday program was a success. With special programs, the Tuesday night lecture, and additional shop discounts, our busiest day of the week shifted from Thursday/Friday to Tuesdays. We will certainly continue Totally Tuesdays in 2016 and look for ways to enhance the visitor’s experience even further.
Our Board of Directors also recently held a day-long retreat with a facilitator to plan not just for next year, but for the next three to five years. Long range planning is key for us because it helps us stay true to our mission: celebrating Ogunquit’s artistic heritage and its role in the history of American modernism through acquiring, preserving, exhibiting, and interpreting American modern art.
Committee work is also important winter work for us. We have the Finance Committee, Collections Committee, Governance Committee, Development Committee, Board and Executive Committees, all of which meet at least quarterly, and sometimes several times a month. The Art By the Sea Committee meets in the fall for a wrap up session, then, beginning in January, meets on a regular schedule until the event is held in August.
A highlight of my job is visiting artists and collectors year round. In December, I traveled to Boston to view a private collection and to several homes and studios in Maine to see art work. Recent acquisitions include work by Wolf Kahn, Charles Woodbury, and Andy Warhol.
The off-season also gives us the opportunity to make needed repairs to the building and grounds. In recent years, we’ve replaced the glass gallery walls and renovated the Barn Gallery wing. This year we are completely renovating both restrooms.
Indeed, the OMAA operates on a year-round basis! Happy New Year to all and we look forward to opening our doors to welcome visitors again May 1, 2016.