Published On: Thu, Oct 28th, 2010

George S. Bolge to retire from Boca Museum of Art after 16 years at local cultural venue

BOCA RATON – Paul W. Carman, president of the Board of Trustees of the Boca Raton Museum of Art, has announced the retirement of Executive Director George S. Bolge, effective June 30, 2011.

Carman stated that, in the near future, he will form a committee to begin the search process for Bolge’s successor.

“I take great pride in my achievements as executive director at the Boca Raton Museum of Art,” said Bolge.  “I know that my efforts, along with those of my exceptional staff, have played a major role in enriching this community. It has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life.”

Bolge will remain active in the South Florida arts community both here and abroad.

“George Bolge is one of the most highly regarded directors in the industry,” said Carman.

“The fact that we were able to grow significantly in every aspect of our operation is largely due to his vision and unmatched expertise. We are sorry to see him go, but are humbled by the wisdom he has imparted on us for more than 16 years.”

A decorated Vietnam veteran, Bolge began his museum career in South Florida in 1970, when he was hired as executive director and, during his tenure, was instrumental in the creation of the new Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale (now known as Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale/Nova Southeastern University). He served as its chief executive until 1988, and remains Director Emeritus for the Broward-based arts organization, which is regarded as one of the most celebrated museums in South Florida.

In 1995, Bolge was hired, once again, to build a major arts institution, this time in Boca Raton. The Boca Raton Museum of Art was housed, at that time, on Palmetto Park Road where the Museum’s Art School is currently located.

Over the next four years, with the support of the Board of Trustees and community leaders, Bolge stabilized the budget, re-established organizational participation in the state, county and city granting resources, developed new educational outreach programming, upgraded the exhibition schedule and enhanced the permanent collection. This professional profile qualified the museum to be awarded its first American Association of Museums National Accreditation. Of the nation’s 17,500 museums, just 778 are currently accredited.

This national recognition served as the impetus to launch a Capital Campaign in 1999, and just over a year later, the Museum opened a new 44,000 square foot facility as the cultural anchor in Mizner Park, downtown Boca Raton.
Under Bolge’s direction, the new Museum opened its doors in January 2001 virtually debt-free.  Today, celebrating 10 years in this new facility, the Museum has achieved an international stature as one of the most successful, non-profit cultural and educational institutions in the state of Florida.

In addition, in 2005 the Boca Raton Museum of Art was named “The Official Fine Arts Museum for Boca Raton,” another recognition achieved under Bolge’s purview.

Over the past decade since its move to Mizner Park, the Museum has welcomed nearly two million visitors and has organized more than 200 exhibitions, a significant achievement for a community organization the size of the Boca Raton Museum of Art.

Some of the Museum’s programs include art films, artist lectures, family programs, the Annual Art Festival and more than 100 classes a week at its studio Art School. Museum auxiliaries include The Artists’ Guild, Friends Auxiliary and Collector’s Forum.