Director of Montclair Art Museum to Retire | Montclair Art Museum
(MAM) & Yard School of Art offer American, Native American, & contemporary art exhibitions, programs, & classes in NJ


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Lora Urbanelli

[September 16,2019, Montclair, NJ] – The Montclair Art Museum (MAM), one of the tri-state’s most treasured art institutions, announced today that its Director, Lora Urbanelli, has informed its Board of Trustees of her intent to retire in summer 2020.  The ninth director of the museum since its inception in 1914, Urbanelli will have led MAM for more than 11 years, one of the longest tenures in recent history. 


According to Frank Walter, president of the Board of Trustees, Urbanelli guided the museum through a chapter of extraordinary institutional advancement, and with her leadership, provided continuous creativity and inspiring service. 


“Lora marked several key milestones while at MAM and she deserves a huge credit for shepherding many team achievements during her tenure,” said Walter.  “While we congratulate her and wish her the best in her retirement, she will be greatly missed by the board, and MAM’s dedicated staff and many volunteers.”


Urbanelli came to MAM in 2009 from her position as Director of the Farnsworth Art Museum and Wyeth Center in Rockland, ME, and prior to that served as Interim Director, Asst. Director, and Curator of Prints, Drawings and Photographs over the course of 20 years at the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design. She was trained in studio art, art history and museum studies at Rutgers University and Syracuse University.


Along with many nonprofit institutions, MAM faced considerable challenges amidst the Great Recession as Urbanelli took the helm in 2009.  She worked strategically and effectively with the board and staff to stabilize the museum’s finances and rekindle optimism.  Leveraging the 2002 building expansion, the museum flourished under her watch, with Urbanelli and her team successfully guiding MAM through a decade of refocused mission, invigorating exhibitions and programming, and enhancing facilities and operations. 


Under Urbanelli’s leadership, MAM continued its tradition of acclaimed exhibitions, and upgraded management of its storied collections.  MAM’S New Directions contemporary art initiative broadened the museum’s exhibition roster and elevated its path forward.  Continuing a lasting and inspiring legacy, MAM completed a wholesale cataloging of its Native American collection and reinstalled and reenergized its popular Rand Native American Art Gallery.


One of the most significant contribution of Urbanelli’s directorship was her personal mandate to make the institution more accessible to all audiences through a robust arts education program.  Under her leadership, the operations team opened MAM’s Ceramics Studio, the Geyer Community Arts Studio, the Nathaniel Harris Community Entrance and the Vance Wall Education Center lobby.  As a capstone initiative, Urbanelli is also coordinating a multi-year design phase of, and laying the groundwork for, transforming the museum’s exterior with the proposed ArtPark at MAM.


“While I am ready to start a new chapter in my life, I am proud and honored to have been the caretaker of this grand institution and its legacy,” said Urbanelli.  “As I pass the baton to the next director, MAM will remain a vibrant and revitalized arts center with an incredible team of staff, board and volunteers, ready to serve its members and the community.”


Urbanelli and her long list of accomplishments will be celebrated at the Montclair Art Museum’s May 2020 Gala.

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About the Montclair Art Museum (MAM)

The Montclair Art Museum (MAM) boasts a renowned collection of American and Native American art that uniquely highlights art making in the United States over the last 300 years. The Vance Wall Art Education Center encompasses the Museum’s educational efforts, including award-winning Yard School of Art studio classes, lectures and talks, family events, tours, and the mobile MAM Art Truck. MAM exhibitions and programs serve a wide public of all ages, from families and seniors to artists, educators, and scholars.


Address: 3 South Mountain Avenue, Montclair, NJ 07042


Phone: 973-746-5555


Gallery & The Store at MAM Hours: Wednesdays through Sundays, 12–5 p.m.

Free First Thursday Nights: 1st Thursday of the month (October–December, February- June), 5–9 p.m.

Student & Senior Fridays: 1st Friday of the month, 12–5 p.m. Free admission for students and seniors with valid ID



FREE members

$12 nonmember adults

$10 veterans, seniors, and students with valid ID

FREE children under 12


All Museum programs are made possible, in part, by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, and by funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, Carol and Terry Wall / The Vance Wall Foundation, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, and Museum members.

Upcoming Events

  • 24Oct
  • MAM Conversations: The Art of Visual Perception, The 33rd Annual Julia Norton Babson Lecture
  • Details
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  • 27Oct
  • Creating Small Treasures with Printmaking Workshop
  • Details
  • 27Oct
  • Parent/Child Ceramics Ages 9-12 Workshop
  • Details