Suzette McAvoy, executive director and chief curator at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art in Rockland, will retire in September, the board of trustees announced Friday.

“CMCA is in a good, strong place right now,” McAvoy, 61, said in an interview. “It’s a good moment in CMCA’s history to hand the reins over to new leadership.”

McAvoy, who has led the center for nearly 10 years, will retire Sept. 1. She has spent more than 30 years in Maine arts having previously served as the chief curator and interim director at the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland and executive director of Waterfall Arts in Belfast.

“I would like in the next decade to actually enjoy a summer in Maine,” said McAvoy, who lives in Belfast. “The idea of not having to commute is very attractive.”

During her time at CMCA, McAvoy oversaw the creation of the ArtsLab program, an education program aimed at reaching new and younger audiences, and helped lead a $5.2 million capital campaign to build a new facility and move the center from Rockport to Rockland in 2016.

Martha Jones, chair of the center’s board of trustees, will lead a national search for McAvoy’s replacement starting this spring.

“With CMCA now cemented on the national stage, we are committed to hiring a nationally recognized leader in the museum search field who will guide us toward finding a candidate to carry forward the upward trajectory set in motion under Suzette’s leadership,” Jones said in a news release.

McAvoy’s retirement is the second departure of a museum or gallery director in Maine this week. On Wednesday, Sharon Corwin, director of the Colby College Museum of Art, announced she is leaving to become the president and chief executive officer of the Chicago-based Terra Foundation for American Art.


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