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Saturday July 26, 2014

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    Nat May, 39
    Executive Director
    SPACE Gallery

    As the executive director of Space
    Gallery, the downtown Portland arts
    venue, Nat May “supports emerging
    artists by presenting 220 events
    annually to forward contemporary
    art, artists, and ideas from all over
    the country,†says his MaineToday
    Media Forty Under 40 award
    nominator, Jessica Tomlinson.

    “Nat’s innovative programming
    earned him recognition from
    the Americans for the Arts as an
    Emerging Leader. He was selected
    as a presenter at the Andy Warhol
    Foundation for Visual Arts last
    summer to share the success story
    of Space Gallery; how under his
    guidance, a small arts organization
    managed to double its facility,
    budget, and staff during a recession,â€Â
    Tomlinson continues, describing
    May as a “humble, motivated,
    visionary administrator.â€Â

    May was chosen by The National
    Endowment for the Arts to review
    grants, “based on his curatorial
    expertise,†she notes. As a board
    member, he helped re-energize the
    Portland Arts and Cultural Alliance. He
    serves on the Creative Portland board.

    Space celebrates its 10th
    anniversary in August. May became
    executive director a few months
    after its opening. A native of Cape
    Elizabeth, he majored in religious
    studies at Davidson College in North
    Carolina, then spent three years in
    Taiwan, teaching English, doing
    free-lance writing, and learning
    Mandarin (“somewhatâ€Â). He then
    spent a year “traveling overland
    across China, through Tibet and
    Nepal and India,†and returned to
    Portland in 1999.

    He worked at Chewonki in
    Wiscasset, helped found the
    Bakery Photo Collective, and hadn’t
    expected to stay in Portland. But
    then came the Space gig.
    “It’s notable how different Portland
    feels from when I was in high
    school,†May says. “There’s a lot
    more going on, a lot more to see. So
    I’ve enjoyed participating in that

    A South Portland resident, May
    loves to garden. “It satisfies my need
    to be busy and productive, but it’s
    relaxing, too.â€Â

    > Return to the Forty under 40 index

Portland Press Herald

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