Museum Director and Chief Curator Brian Ferriso named President of the Association of Art Museum Directors

Brian Ferriso, Director and Chief Curator of the Portland Art Museum, has been appointed President of the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD), effective May 25, 2016, for a one-year term. Ferriso, who hold degrees in economics, art history, and arts administration, previously served as AAMD vice-president and secretary.

“For me, AAMD has always been a source of knowledge, professional development, shared learning and camaraderie.  It is a powerful group of leaders that continues to evolve to enrich, inspire and educate our respective communities.  I feel privileged to be a part of AAMD, especially during its centennial year, and to help influence its future.”

“It is an honor to welcome my distinguished colleague Brian Ferriso as the next President of AAMD,” said Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole, outgoing AAMD President and Director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African Art. “Brian has been instrumental in shaping and guiding the development of AAMD’s new strategic plan, and now his presidency will mark the first year of its implementation. Brian is an inspiring leader at the Portland Art Museum, and I have no doubt he will bring the same formidable skills and vision to his role as AAMD President. He will help guide AAMD into the future, all the while reaffirming our commitment to the Association’s core values and principles.”

Upon Ferriso’s arrival at the Portland Art Museum in 2006 he outlined three areas of focus that have driven the Museum to great success in the decade since—art, access, and accountability. Ferriso called for the Museum to offer art of quality and importance, access to all regardless of economic or cultural status, and strong fiscal accountability. Under his leadership those pillars have served as the catalyst for the transformation that continues today.

Since assuming the role of chief curator in 2014, Ferriso has reinvigorated the curatorial and collections departments through strategic alignment, new hires and innovative partnerships. The recent, groundbreaking Contemporary Native Photographers and the Edward Curtis Legacy exhibition exemplifies the impact of these efforts. Ferriso was also responsible for the Museum’s first US showing of Richard Mosse’s dynamic installation, The Enclave, and the premiere of the acclaimed Seeing Nature: Landscape Masterworks from the Paul G. Allen Family Collection, an exhibition he co-organized with Seattle Art Museum.

Ferriso is a Trustee of the American Federation of Arts, and a member of The American Alliance of Museums (AAM). He is also 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. Prior to joining the Portland Art Museum, Ferriso served as the Executive Director, CEO, and President of the Philbrook Museum of Art; Deputy Director and Senior Director of Curatorial Affairs at the Milwaukee Art Museum; and Assistant Director at the University of Chicago’s Smart Museum of Art. Additionally, he also taught high school art and is a practicing artist, using training acquired while studying with Frank Mason of the Art Students League in New York City.

He holds a B.A. in economics from Bowdoin College, an M.A. in arts administration from New York University, and an M.A. in art history from the University of Chicago.

About AAMD

The Association of Art Museum Directors advances the profession by cultivating leadership capabilities of directors, advocating for the field, and fostering excellence in art museums. An agile, issues-driven organization, AAMD has three desired outcomes: engagement, leadership, and shared learning. More information on AAMD is available at