Maine College of Art & Design Welcomes Iris Williamson as Incoming Director of Exhibitions
Williamson will oversee exhibitions for the College and the Institute of Contemporary Art
PORTLAND, ME — January 25, 2023 — Maine College of Art & Design (MECA&D) today announced the appointment of Iris Williamson (she/her/hers) as Director of Exhibitions, effective Monday, February 6, 2023. This appointment was made after a competitive national search.
Williamson, a curator, arts administrator, and educator, comes to the College from serving as director and curator for the New Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art at the University of Southern Indiana, a notable gallery, historical site museum, and center of contemporary art, design, and research. In her new role, Williamson will be responsible for overseeing exhibitions across Maine College of Art & Design while also managing the exhibitions and other programming at the Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art & Design (ICA).
"Iris really impressed us with the set of values Iris foregrounds in her work, her creativity, and her passion for working with artists,” said Ian Anderson, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the College. “We know she will be a great addition to the College, and will continue the long legacy of excellence and innovation in the Institute of Contemporary Art while simultaneously supporting and serving students, faculty and our extended community through our many college-wide exhibitions.”
Williamson is the Founding Partner and Director of HOLDING Contemporary in Portland, Oregon and previously taught Contemporary Art Theory at Portland State University. Between 2021 and 2022, Williamson served as Curator-in-Residence at the University of Oregon's Center for Artistic Research. Williamson’s deep experience in arts administration, business, non-profits, and education combined with her art practice and deep understanding of art history and museum studies provide a solid grounding for creating moments steeped in research and methodical preparation.
“Art is a transformative tool and a catalyst for change,” said Williamson. “Art brings people together, and it can set an individual on a life-changing journey of discovery. It is my passion to support spaces where the community can access art and ideas.”
Williamson holds an MA in Critical Theory & Creative Research from Pacific Northwest College of Art, a BFA in Painting and a minor in Art History from the University of Florida, and a Certificate of Museum Studies from Northwestern University.
The public can meet Williamson at the ICA, located on the street level entrance of the Porteous building. The ICA, which cultivates engagement and dialogue regarding contemporary visual art practices to foster discourse on the critical conversations of our time and enhance visual culture, is open Wednesdays through Sundays from 11:00am to 5:00pm. On Thursdays, gallery hours are 11:00am–7:00pm.
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Maine College of Art & Design (MECA&D) has been activating students of all pursuits to make art, make an impact, and inspire change since its founding as Portland School of Art in 1882. Located in Portland's thriving Arts District, students have access to state-of-the-art facilities, 24-hour-a-day studios, a 10:1 student-to-faculty ratio, and a community-based Artists at Work program—making MECA&D the right-sized school in the right-sized city for every student who wants to make their mark and be seen. The College offers BFA Majors and Minors, Graduate Programs, Continuing Studies, Pre-College, and includes the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies and the Institute for Contemporary Art. Follow us at @mecaart.
Alex Koch, Public Relations Specialist