Sam Vail joins CMCA as Director of Development and Marketing

CMCA Director of Development + Marketing Sam Vail

The Center for Maine Contemporary Art (CMCA) welcomes Sam Vail as its new Director of Marketing and Development. A lifetime Mainer, Sam brings an enthusiasm for supporting Maine artists and the communities they call home. “Something is growing in Rockland,” he says. “If all you hear is the ocean, you’re not listening.”

The hire comes at an important time in CMCA’s history. With nearly 40,000 yearly visitors, and an annual economic impact estimated at $35 million, CMCA has finalized a three-year Strategic Plan to expand its program and education capacities. Sam will focus on growing the organization’s community and financial resources – assuring its ability to serve its mission for years to come.

“We are incredibly fortunate to add Sam to CMCA’s team,” says CMCA Director, Suzette McAvoy. “As an organization, we’ve undergone tremendous growth and reach in a very short timeframe. Sam brings experience, energy, and ideas to help us meet our goals and envision our future.”

After studying Writing at Hampshire College, Massachusetts, Sam was eager to return to Maine. “Talking with friends at graduation, the question was always the same: ‘where to next?'” Citing a lack of culture and opportunity in rural America, Sam watched the majority of his class head for the cities. “The answer was almost never Maine.”

Now three years later, Sam remains committed to stopping Maine’s talent bleed. He argues that the arts hold immense possibility for Maine’s future. “It’s about more than jobs – young people want the intangibles: stories, adventures, memories.” Sam believes that Maine has to shake off the feeling of being “out-in-the-woods.”

“If young people want to see the world, we have to bring the world here.”

Sam was eager to come work for CMCA after attending one of their events last February. “Growing up here, you watch towns fold up in September.” After watching a crowd meant for a summer weekend turn out in mid-winter, Sam saw an omen of things to come. “That’s not an event – that’s an endorsement.”

Sam brings with him experience as both a staff member and volunteer at non-profits across the Midcoast. He comes to CMCA following his role as a Fundraiser for Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association in Unity, and has volunteered as a Marketing Coordinator and Youth Mentor at the Restorative Justice Project of the Midcoast in Belfast. “The question of Maine’s future is being answered by a thousand movements. Art is one of many.”

With audacious goals set for the future of CMCA, Sam is eager to tap into the community that has made the organization a success thus far. And though Sam grew up in the Midcoast, he emphasizes that Rockland is still new to him. “Every town is different,” he says. “I’m excited to listen.”

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