Charles P. Criminisi, Chair of the Art Gallery of Hamilton
Board of Directors announced today that Louise Dompierre, President and CEO of the AGH has informed him and the Gallerys Board of Directors of her intention to leave the Gallery at the end of 2014.
After 15 years at the helm of the AGH and 35 years working in art museums, I have decided it is time for me to enter a new phase of my life, said Louise Dompierre. This was not an easy decision to make as I have thoroughly enjoyed my years at the Gallery and the great opportunities I was given to work with so many talented and committed individuals. But, the AGH Centennial is a turning point for the institution and, I believe, it is an ideal moment to find a successor, she said.
The Board of Directors is deeply indebted to Louise Dompierre for her leadership of the AGH and accepts her decision with enormous regret, said Charles Criminisi. Louise is a brilliant visionary with the rare talent of being able to execute new directions. She has been a great asset for both the AGH and the City of Hamilton.
Having served the AGH for more than 15 years with great distinction, commitment and wisdom, Louise leaves the Gallery with a brilliant multi-faceted legacy and a glowing future. One of the most significant of her long list of achievements is her leadership in developing acclaimed thought provoking and inspiring exhibitions which engage people of all ages. In 2012 the AGH experienced record breaking attendance of 290,000, a gigantic leap from 20,000 when she joined the Gallery in 1998.
There have been radical changes at the AGH since Louise joined the Gallery in late 1998. In 2003 she directed a major renovation of the Gallery that upgraded the structure of the building and transformed the Gallery into an international art destination. In July 2012, the AGH opened the Design Annex on James Street North in the heart of the Arts District, and demonstrated, once again, its deep commitment to city building and the renewal of the downtown Hamilton core.
During her remarkable tenure, the AGH permanent collection, which is focused on Canadian historical, Canadian and international contemporary, and 18th and 19th century European art, has grown to 10,000 works and is regarded as one of the finest in Canada.
Today, with a budget of $5.5 million, up from $1.5 million in 1998 that includes the diverse menu of commercial activities developed under her leadership, and which contribute approximately 70% of its revenues, the AGH has become one of Canadas
most highly regarded institutions and a leader in the Hamilton community.
The celebration of the Gallerys Centennial in 2014 will see the culmination of years of efforts by the AGH Board of Directors and staff to build a wider array of programming and educational activities that reach far beyond the usual parameters of many art museums and include a series of revenue generating initiatives. The AGH is currently operating at capacity and as a result the Gallery is planning to undertake a renovation, once the funds have been raised, to provide much needed space.
The coming year promises to be richly satisfying as we present a calendar of ground breaking exhibitions and programmes, she said. I feel that I have accomplished a great deal here and that this is a good time in the life of the Gallery, as it enters its second century, to pass the baton.
Louise has received many honours during her tenure. Currently, she is Chair of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce. In 2012 she received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. She was inducted into Hamiltons Gallery of Distinction in 2007 and was honoured with the Tourism Ambassador Award in 2006. In 2005 Louise was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from McMaster University and was named a Paul Harris Fellow by the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International.
Prior to joining the AGH in 1998, Louise was the Associate Director/Chief Curator of The Power Plant Art Gallery in Toronto, where she played a key role in the development of Canadas most dynamic and ambitious centre for contemporary visual arts.
The AGH Board of Directors will form a search committee to help identify a successor.
Recruitment will begin in 2014.