UMaine Museum of Art receives naming gift

A $1.3 million naming gift from education leaders and arts supporters Donald and Linda Zillman will expand and enhance the University of Maine Museum of Art. At its March 16 meeting, the University of Maine System Board of Trustees approved the expansion plans and naming opportunity made possible by the gift. The museum is now the Linda G. and Donald N. Zillman Art Museum – University of Maine. 

The Zillmans, longtime Maine residents who now live in Santa Fe, pledged the gift to the University of Maine Foundation for the construction and operation of five new galleries to showcase the museum’s collection of over 4,000 works of modern and contemporary art. 

A long-term lease agreement will increase the square footage of the museum’s public gallery space by 40%. Construction of five new galleries will bring the total number to 12, with more than 4,700 square feet for exhibitions.

“The Zillmans’ vision and generosity have made a difference in Maine for many years,” says University of Maine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy. “This gift advances the museum’s mission and continued growth with improvements in its physical facilities. The result will be more experiences for visual art lovers of all ages.”

Donald Zillman has been a leader in the University of Maine System for 30 years. He served as the fourth dean of Maine Law, from 1991–98. He also served as UMaine interim provost and academic vice president of the University of Maine from 1999–2000; interim president of the University of Maine at Fort Kent in 2001–02; and president of the University of Maine at Presque Isle in 2006. He returned to Maine Law as the Edward S. Godfrey Professor of Law in January 2014.

Linda Zillman is an art historian who has written two catalogues and curated two exhibitions on Andy Warhol at the University of Maine Presque Isle.

The Zillmans were instrumental in moving the University of Maine Museum of Art from the Orono campus to its current location in downtown Bangor. Linda Zillman has served on the UMMA support board of directors for over 10 years. They are members of the University of Maine Foundation Stillwater Society, and have funded several key museum projects through the years, including a vibrant new sculptural welcome sign erected in fall 2019.

“UMMA serves as one of Maine’s premiere art museums. In addition to attracting Maine visitors, it welcomes art enthusiasts from around New England and eastern Canada. Many of these are young people making their first connection to the arts — visits that often begin a lifelong connection with art. Advancing UMMA requires improvements in physical facilities and support growth. We are excited about investing in its future,” the Zillmans say.

The UMaine Museum of Art advances the university’s land grant mission of service to citizens through its cultural engagement activities that includes changing exhibitions, a permanent collection and educational programming. Today, in response to the coronavirus pandemic, UMMA launched a series of weekly virtual tours of the exhibitions, and online educational programming for children and families.

“The Zillman gift will significantly advance the museum’s mission, dramatically improve the visitor experience, elevate the stature of the institution, and propel the continued growth and success of the museum,” says George Kinghorn, UMMA executive director and curator.

A portion of the gift will be included in University of Maine’s $200 million Vision for Tomorrow comprehensive campaign, led by the University of Maine Foundation. The campaign is scheduled to be completed by June 30.

Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745