Not many museums can boast a view as stunning as the one at the Ogunquit Museum of American Art, nor can many communities boast such renown as a summer art colony. Put the two together, and you get a gem: a small museum with a blockbuster collection numbering about 1,600 pieces of American art. It’s now under the direction of Ron Crusan (who, judging solely by the new website and an interview posted on it, seems to be breathing new life into the museum).
Walk into the museum, and your eyes are first drawn not to the art, but through the rear wall of glass overlooking the cliffs and crashing surf. The view alone captures why so many American icons came here to paint. In addition to the five galleries, be sure to wander the landscaped grounds and gardens, which are studded with sculptures.
The museum reopens for the season July 1 with a strong exhibit schedule.
• The Works of Bernard Langlais (July 1-Aug.30), with 18 works featuring smaller versions of the artist’s fantastic animal sculptures drawn from the museum’s permanent collection, Mrs. Bernard Langlais, and Aucoicsco Galleries (Portland).
• Marsden Hartley: The OMAA Legacy (July 1-Sept. 6), showcasing major works in the museum’s collection and some borrowed drawings from the Bates College Museum of Art.
• The OMAA Permanent Collection: Out of the White Mountains (July 1-Oct. 31) , with 47 works spanning 100 years from artists who painted in New Hampshire’s White Mountains.
• Painting Maine: Maurice Freedman (Sept. 5-Oct. 31), an American modernist who painted in Maine as well as Europe, New York, and Provincetown. Works presented courtesy of Greenhut Galleries (Portland) and private collections.
• Beverly Hallam: A Celebration (Sept. 14-Oct. 3), honoring Hallam for her innovations in the art world, including her experimentation with alternative materials and the early use of acrylic paints.
Be sure to check the schedule for Tuesday Nights at the Museum, a series of lectures and concerts usually (but not always) held on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. And if you’re in a generous mood, mark your calendar for the annual “Almost Labor Day Auction,” Sept. 5, a social season must and the museum’s major fund raiser.