This post is part of our “Meet & Greet” series, periodic posts meant to introduce our online audiences to staff members here at the Colby College Museum of Art! Julianne Gilland, our new deputy director, joined the Museum this fall. We recently sat down with Julianne to discuss her role at the Museum, her background, and her experiences living in Central Maine.
How have your first few months working for the Museum been?
Very exciting! The Colby Museum is a dynamic, bustling place every day, but I happened to arrive at a particularly energetic moment. So in my first days and weeks, I was able to participate in the inauguration of the Lunder Institute, which kicked off with an amazing lecture and residency by artist Theaster Gates, as well as the launch of Colby’s Dare Northward campaign.
What are your main responsibilities as deputy director?
I’m charged with providing organizational leadership for the Museum, making sure that our departments, staff, and partners have what they need to sustain and advance the amazing work they do. I also work with the Museum director to advance our strategic goals and the work of our Museum Board of Governors.
What were you doing before you started at the Museum, and how are you hoping to build upon those experiences here?
Before coming to Colby, I was director of the Benson Latin American Collection at the University of Texas at Austin. The Benson is a special collection and library that preserves the culture and history of Latin America and US Latinx communities through extensive collections of archival material, rare books, art, photographs, maps, film, audio, and ephemera. I hope that my experience leading the Benson, and building and stewarding those kinds of collections, will make me an asset to the Museum as it continues to build a diverse and inclusive collection and explore American art in global contexts.
How have you found your first months in Central Maine, and what are you most looking forward to exploring?
I thoroughly enjoyed my first Maine fall, and am really looking forward to the beauty of all the seasons. I am particularly drawn to the ocean, and after spending twenty years living on the West Coast, found out in Austin how much I missed being in easy driving distance. Maine has California beat for miles of coastline, so I am looking forward to lots and lots of leisurely exploration.
Tell me about one of your favorite artworks at the Museum.
Only one? I always have to stop and look at Joan Mitchell’s Chamrousse when I walk into the Alfond-Lunder Family Pavilion; the color is just incredible. And as a longtime Bay Area resident, I always stop short at my first glimpse of Robert Bechtle’s photo-realistic painting 20th Street—Early Sunday Morning. I love feeling the deep shock of recognition of that San Francisco street. I already have several other favorites, and I haven’t been here long—what a great place to get to come to work every day.