Sharon Corwin was appointed the Carolyn Muzzy Director and Chief Curator at the Colby College Museum of Art in Waterville, ME in 2006. Corwin oversaw the completion of the museum’s Alfond-Lunder Family Pavilion in 2013, making the Colby Museum the biggest in Maine.
The museum, which is free to the public, serves everyone from tourists to local public schoolers to Colby College students. As a teaching museum, professors from many different academic areas utilize Colby’s collection. “We recently had a math professor over here talking about knot theory—this complicated math concept—in relation to a painting that has these forms that are based in knot theory,” Corwin recently told Maine Magazine. "I have this whole new understanding of the painting now."
Corwin also draws inspiration from the museum’s visitors. ”Sometimes I’ll just walk through the galleries when we’re open and just sort of eavesdrop on people,” she says. “When I hear the comments they’re making or the excitement or joy, that makes it possible for me to come back and work until nine o’clock and not feel grumpy about it. The work we’re doing feels like it has importance and meaning and purpose.”
Corwin also speaks passionately about Maine’s creative economy, which includes everything from her museum to artists and farmers. “The farms are a part of Maine’s creative economy in so many ways,” she says. The museum has hosted events that convene these different aspects of the creative economy, featuring local food with performances by poets and musicians in the galleries. “I’m really excited about the farmer/artist and the farmer/musician or just the farmer/farmer.”
The Colby College Museum of Art’s Lively Spaces summer camp program is also featured in AAMD’s Next Practices in Art Museum Education.
Photo of Sharon Corwin by Greta Rybus