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Director and Chief Curator


As the Director and Chief Curator of the Portland Art Museum, Brian Ferriso is responsible for leading all aspects of the institution, including the curatorial divisions, exhibitions, acquisitions, collections, learning and community partnerships, public programs, the Northwest Film Center, financial and strategic planning, human resources, Board of Trustees, and government and community relations. Since his appointment in 2006 the Museum has thrived under his guiding principles of art, access, and accountability.

Under Ferriso’s leadership the Museum has launched a diverse schedule of exhibitions and publications that have featured important works of art and presented new scholarship, with the goal of bringing art from around the world to Oregon as well as introducing the world to the art of the region. Exhibitions of special note during Ferriso’s tenure are: Wild Beauty: Photographs of the Columbia River Gorge, 1867-1957 (2008), The Artist’s Touch, The Craftsman’s Hand: Three Centuries of Japanese Prints from Portland Art Museum (2011-12), Carrie Mae Weems: Three Decades of Photography and Video (2013), The Question of Hope: Robert Adams in Western Oregon (2013-14), The Art of the Louvre’s Tuileries Garden (2104), The Enclave: Richard Mosse (2014-15), and Seeing Nature: Landscape Masterworks from the Paul G. Allen Family Collection (2015) Ferriso also conceived of Masterworks/Portland, a series of single-work exhibitions, and has curated Raphael’s La Donna Velata (2009), Thomas Moran’s Shoshone Falls on the Snake River (2010), and Titian’s La Bella (2011-12). Ferriso is also responsible for launching a series of highly successful design-focused exhibitions that explore the influence of art and design on architecture, fashion, consumer goods, and luxury products. Highlights include China Design Now (2009), The Allure of the Automobile (2011), Cyclepedia: Iconic Bicycle Design (2013), and Italian Style: Fashion Since 1945 (2015). Major acquisitions for the collection under Ferriso’s tenure include works by Vincent van Gogh, Rembrandt van Rijn, Gustave Courbet, Paul Gauguin, and Robert Rauschenberg, among others. Ferriso has been published in a number of exhibition catalogues and art publications, and has written articles for Curator: The Museum Journal and Museum magazine.

Committed to learning and expanding free admission opportunities, Ferriso has created the Art Access Endowment, which supports in perpetuity free admission for children 17 and under, free school tours, and quarterly family free days. During Ferriso’s tenure, the Museum has operated with a balanced budget, added over $25m million in new gifts to the endowment, and eliminated $7 million in unfunded debt.

Ferriso received a B.A. in economics from Bowdoin College, a M.A. in arts administration from New York University, and an M.A. in art history from the University of Chicago. He is a past Trustee and President (2016-2017) of the Association of Art Museum Directors; a Trustee of the American Federation of Arts and Chair of its exhibitions committee; and a member of American Alliance of Museums (AAM) and CEO, Chief Executive Organization.  Ferriso is the recipient of the 2012 Excellency Award from the Foundation for Italian Art and Culture, and a member of the International Council Museum Berggruen Berlin. Previously, he was a Chief Executive Fellow at National Arts Strategies, a mentor and applicant reviewer for the Center for Curatorial Leadership, a Juror for the National Endowment for the Arts and the American Institute of Architects’ National Honor Awards, and as a Site Reviewer for AAM’s Accreditation Program. Additionally, Ferriso is a practicing artist, using training that he acquired while studying with Frank Mason of the Art Students League in New York City.

Brian Ferriso