The Center for Maine Contemporary Art, 21 Winter St., has announced that Sam Vail is its new Director of Marketing and Development. A lifetime Mainer, Vail brings an enthusiasm for supporting Maine artists and the communities they call home.

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. Vail 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," said 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, Vail was eager to return to Maine. But citing a lack of culture and opportunity in rural America, he watched the majority of his class head for the cities. Three years later, he remains committed to stopping Maine’s “talent bleed” and 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,” he said. “If young people want to see the world, we have to bring the world here.”

Vail was eager to come work for CMCA after attending one of its events last February. After watching a crowd meant for a summer weekend turn out in mid-winter, he saw an omen of things to come” “That’s not an event: that’s an endorsement.”

Vail brings with him experience as both a staff member and volunteer at nonprofits across the Midcoast. He comes to CMCA following his role as a fundraiser for Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association in Unity; and he 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,” he said.

With audacious goals set for the future of CMCA, Vail is eager to tap into the community that has made the organization a success thus far. And although he grew up in the Midcoast, he emphasized that Rockland is still new to him.

“Every town is different,” he said. “I’m excited to listen.”

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.