Dan Mills | Director of the Bates College Museum of Art
One of nine art museums in Maine, Bates College Museum of Artserves Bates College, the Lewiston-Auburn community, and the surrounding region with free thematic, contemporary exhibitions that can be integrated into a variety of educational courses and disciplines. Museum director Dan Mills has been leading this community, college, and cultural engagement since 2010. In that time, he has increased the museum’s educational and collection staff, which has allowed the museum to expand and diversify its collection and achieve greater alignment with the academic mission of Bates College. Mills also brought in a larger variety of international, national, and local artists and significant artworks for exhibition, such as an exhibition last year of Dahlov Ipcar’s work, including many pieces that were exhibited publicly for the first time. Since Mills joined the museum, seven exhibitions have traveled to more than a dozen places to be showcased across ten states. When he’s not in the museum, Mills is in his studio, where he creates art that explores ideas and topics of history through creating paintings and collages on maps. “To me, art is an essential part of life,” he says. “It is the creative branch of visual culture. We live in a world in which visual literacy is increasingly important. Directing the museum and being active as an artist are the ways I participate in and serve the cultural community of Maine.” As Mills works to implement innovative exhibitions, his hope is to continue to bring renowned artists and artworks to the state, to showcase the museum’s ever-growing collection, and to offer substantial programming that makes people from the college and the community feel welcome. Mills’s goal is to encourage people to make the Bates College Museum of Art part of their academic, cultural, and social life.