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Plattsburgh Native Takes Reins of Plattsburgh State Art Museum

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (July 21, 2008) - Plattsburgh native Cecilia Esposito has become the new director of the Plattsburgh State Art Museum. She has taken the place of Edward Brohel who served as director for 30 years and retired earlier this summer.

The move is a comfortable one for Esposito who has a wealth of experience in the field, including other museum directorships. She was the executive director of the Hyde Collection in Glens Falls, N.Y. There she was responsible for the overall administration of the museum, maintaining a collection of European Old Masters and antiques, as well as American works of art.

She also served as executive director of the Gallery Association of New York State in Hamilton, N.Y. This non-profit cooperative of more than 200 museums and other exhibiting organizations had a budget of nearly a million dollars and a staff of 15 full-time employees. It provided services, including traveling exhibitions, the transportation and packaging of works of art and technical assistance, as well as exhibit design and production.

"Ceil brings with her a depth of experience in her field, in addition to a familiarity with the Plattsburgh State Museum and its workings and a vision for the future," said SUNY Plattsburgh President John Ettling. "We are fortunate to have her."

A SUNY Plattsburgh alumna, Esposito spent time working in the museum as student. In those days, she helped catalog Sally Kent Gorton's initial gift of works by her husband, Rockwell Kent. The gift was given to the college in the late 1970s.

"I really enjoyed it," she said, but Esposito never imagined that she would be back working with the same collection as it grew through the years.

Esposito returned to the area in 1997, working as a consultant and serving for a time as the executive director of the Council on the Arts for Clinton County.

She was hired as a consultant by the executrix of the Sally Kent Gorton Estate to inventory the collection gifted to the college. Upon its arrival on campus, Edward Brohel asked that she take on the management of the copyrights and curatorial responsibilities of the Kent Collection.

Most recently, she has worked as the visual resources coordinator and the museum's art collections specialist. In these roles, she has managed the museum's copyrights and permissions associated with the collections; done curatorial work and general collections management; and overseen daily museum operations and budgets, in addition to supporting education by providing images to faculty upon request and developing a digital library.

When it comes to a vision for the future, Esposito would like to see the museum serve an even greater role in educating students of all ages.

"I feel very strongly about the role of the museum as educator," said Esposito.

She envisions using the new searchable database she's been working on as a starting point. Educators in a variety of fields - art, English, math, science - will be able to search through the collection and request items to be taken out of storage for viewing by classes. The database will be accessible on the Internet, enabling it to be used around the world.

Those educators who cannot take their class to the museum can still use its resources. They can show the class pictures from the database or have students go to the museum on their own time.

In the near future, they may have yet another option. Museum docents may be able to go out to the schools, bringing art objects into the classroom and creating ready-made curriculum that teachers can access.

The Plattsburgh State Art Museum galleries are open from noon until 4 p.m. seven days a week, except for legal holidays and December 24 through January 1. For more information on the museum, visit www.plattsburgh.edu/museum or call 518-564-2474.

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