In July, I was fortunate to interview Ed Fosmire, the new executive director of the Oceanside Museum of Art. I must stay I felt comfortable calling him Ed. He is quite young and extremely enthusiastic about his new position. His wife is an artist on hiatus as she raised their now 5 year daughter.
The 2010 strategic planning process was almost at an end that when he arrived in April, but Ed has managed to have some influence already. He wants to redirect fundraising (one of his strength) away from the capitol campaign for the plant expansion toward philanthropic support of the museum’s programming. When asked the secret of his previous success (over $1.5 million at CSU in Long Beach), he said it was “an honest and forthright” approach. He further explained that each patron has to know what is needed and then has to express what their needs are. Then it is a matter of creating a win-win situation for the museum and the donor.
He does want to bring a Contemporary Asian exhibition to the museum as his own special interest is India, Tibet and Japan. He is working toward that goal for 2012 but knows first he has to beef up the local Asian audience. Of course, the core supporters of the museum will not be neglected but a younger demographic will also be a continued goal. The outreach will concentrate on 5th graders and the NEA grant process is underway to supplement the museum needs in that direction.
He spoke of his support for local artist and their important in the community but there are no plans to build a contemporary permanent collection at this time. But there are signs that Ed Fosmire is a risk taker. The fifteen foot nude bright yellow baby created by ceramic artist Matt Wedel and placed at the front lawn of the Long Beach Museum of Art was controversial and his responsibility.
Ed Fosmire replaced Skip Pahl, and joins board president Beate Russe and vice president, Carolyn Mickelson. He is one to watch along with the new Roxana Velásquez Martínez del Campo new executive director of The San Diego Museum of Art who takes Derrick R. Cartwright’s job and Kathryn Kanjo who has been appointed the new Chief Curator and Head of the Curatorial Department of the Museum of Contemporary Art, SD and replaced Stephanie Hanor.