The big man of the Boca Raton Museum of Art plans to retire next year.
George Bolge, who has been executive director of the museum since 1995, and led the museum through the construction of a new building a decade ago, will leave his post at the end of June.
Paul W. Carman, president of the museum’s board of trustees, said in a statement that he will form a committee to begin the search process for Bolge’s successor.
The tall, strapping Bolge is a decorated Vietnam veteran.
He began his museum career in 1970, when he was hired as executive director and helped create the Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale (now known as Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale/Nova Southeastern University).
He served as its chief executive until 1988, and remains director emeritus of the organization.
In 1995, when Bolge joined the Boca Raton Museum of Art, it was housed in a building on Palmetto Park Road now home to the museum’s Art School.
Over the next four years, Bolge stabilized the budget, re-established organizational participation in the state, county and city granting resources, developed new educational outreach programming, upgraded the exhibition schedule and enhanced the permanent collection.
That qualified the museum to be awarded its first American Association of Museums National Accreditation.
That recognition served as the impetus to launch a capital campaign in 1999, and in January 2001, the museum opened a new 44,000-square-foot facility as the cultural anchor in Mizner Park, downtown Boca Raton. It was virtually debt-free.
Since its move to Mizner Park, the museum has hosted nearly 2 million visitors and has organized more than 200 exhibitions.
“I take great pride in my achievements as executive director at the Boca Raton Museum of Art,” Bolge said in a statement. “I know that my efforts, along with those of my exceptional staff, have played a major role in enriching this community. We have provided a fiscally strong, nationally accredited institution with a balanced budget and award-winning exhibitions. It has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life.”
Bolge will remain active in the South Florida arts community and continue to pursue his creative interests through speaking engagements and consultation to educational and arts institutions both
here and abroad. Ú