September 26, 2010

Arts Dispatches

LEWISTON

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Dan Mills

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Nell Shipman

Bates College names new art museum director

Dan Mills is the new director of the Bates College Museum of Art.

Mills comes to Maine from Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, where he served as director of the Samek Art Gallery for nine years.

Bates President Elaine Tuttle Hansen has asked the institution to renew its emphasis on the arts as one part of Choices for Bates, a collaborative, college-wide strategic initiative.

"This is a wonderful situation, one with many opportunities for the arts and the college," Mills said in a press release, noting that among the initiatives to emerge from Choices for Bates is the creation of a Bates Arts Collaborative of faculty and campus arts presenters.

Bates Dean of Faculty Jill Reich called Mills's exhibitions at Bucknell "adventurous and provocative, truly ahead of the curve."

Mills started at Bates Sept. 13.

Mills is also an artist. His work, in a variety of media, explores themes and imagery including cartography, humor, imperialism, cartoon characters, landscape and portraiture. Since 2009, he has had solo exhibitions at Sherry Frumkin Gallery in Santa Monica, Calif., the Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts Museum in China and at several academic institutions. The Perceval Press, actor Viggo Mortensen's publishing company, produced a hardcover book based on his "US Future State Atlas" series of drawings in 2009.

Mills earned his bachelor's degree in fine arts at the Rochester Institute of Technology and his master's at Northern Illinois University. He previously directed the Gibson Gallery at the State University of New York, and served as curator for the art program at the First National Bank of Chicago.

He is married to Gail Skudera, an award-winning artist whose work, combining aspects of pictorial weaving with painting and photographic transfers, has been exhibited widely throughout the Midwest and eastern U.S. They have three adult children.

Mills succeeds Mark Bessire, who now heads the Portland Museum of Art.

PORTLAND

Portland Ballet promotes its resident choreographer

Nell Shipman has been named associate artistic director of Portland Ballet Company. Shipman joined Portland Ballet in 2004 as a principal dancer, and as an instructor with the associated Portland School of Ballet. She became resident choreographer in 2007.

Executive director Eugenia O'Brien said Shipman earned the promotion with hard work and by dedicating herself to the future of the art of dance and support of Portland Ballet Company. "I am confident that Nell's vision and enthusiasm will continue to bring great ideas and growth to Portland Ballet Company," O'Brien said in a statement.

Shipman has a bachelor's degree in dance performance from Butler University, and has performed and shown choreography in Portland, New York, Chicago, Boulder, Colo., Indianapolis and the Republic of Georgia. She has taught throughout the country, including Regional Dance America's Mid-States Festival in St. Louis and Kansas Regional Ballet's Summer Intensive. She has set two ballets on the dancers of the Ballet Conservatory of South Texas.

Shipman has performed as a principal dancer in numerous productions at Portland Ballet, including the lead roles in "Giselle" and "Carmina Burana." In addition to Portland Ballet, her choreography has also been produced by the Portland Symphony Orchestra, Friends of the Kotzschmar Organ, PORTopera and Bowdoin College.

The premiere of Shipman's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" will be Oct. 29 at the John Ford Theater in Portland. 

Museum's trustees allocate family's $3 million gift

The board of trustees of the Portland Museum of Art last week voted to allocate proceeds from the $3 million gift from the family of Emily Eaton Moore for buying art, supporting the Winslow Homer Studio campaign and investing in a fund to support museum operations.

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