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Updated: April 16, 2020

UMaine Museum of Art receives $1.3M naming gift, will add five galleries

Courtesy / University of Maine System A $1.3 million naming gift will expand and enhance the University of Maine Museum of Art in Bangor.

A $1.3 million gift from education leaders and arts supporters Donald and Linda Zillman will expand and enhance the University of Maine Museum of Art.

At its March 16 meeting, the University of Maine System Board of Trustees approved the expansion plans made possible by the gift and approved a name change for the museum, according to a news release.

The Bangor museum will now be known as the Linda G. and Donald N. Zillman Art Museum.

The Zillmans, longtime Maine residents who now live in Santa Fe, N.M., pledged the gift to the University of Maine Foundation for the construction and operation of five new galleries to showcase the museum’s collection of 4,000 works of modern and contemporary art. 

A long-term lease agreement will increase the square footage of the museum’s public gallery space by 40%. Construction of the new galleries will bring the total number to 12, with more than 4,700 square feet for exhibitions.

“The Zillmans’ vision and generosity have made a difference in Maine for many years,” University of Maine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy said in the release. “This gift advances the museum’s mission and continued growth with improvements in its physical facilities. The result will be more experiences for visual art lovers of all ages.”

Donald Zillman has been a leader in the University of Maine System for 30 years. He served as dean at the School of Law from 1991–98. He also was interim provost and academic vice president of the University of Maine from 1999–2000; interim president of the University of Maine at Fort Kent in 2001–02; and president of the University of Maine at Presque Isle in 2006. He returned to Maine Law as the Edward S. Godfrey Professor of Law in January 2014.

Linda Zillman is an art historian who has written two catalogs and curated two exhibitions on Andy Warhol at the University of Maine at Presque Isle.

The Zillmans were instrumental in moving the University of Maine Museum of Art from the Orono campus to its location in downtown Bangor. Linda Zillman has served on the museum’s board of directors for over 10 years. They are members of the University of Maine Foundation Stillwater Society, and have funded several key museum projects through the years, including a vibrant new sculptural welcome sign erected in fall 2019. 

The museum attracts Maine visitors and welcomes art enthusiasts from around New England and eastern Canada, the Zillmans said in a statement.

“Many of these are young people making their first connection to the arts, visits that often begin a lifelong connection with art,” they said. “Advancing UMMA requires improvements in physical facilities and support growth. We are excited about investing in its future.”

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