Lauren Lessing is Director of the UI Stanley Museum of Art. She oversees the management and care of the Stanley Museum’s collections as well as its curatorial, educational, and administrative activities. Lessing is an art historian and educator with more than 25 years of experience working in museums, including the Art Institute of Chicago and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City. She started at the Colby College Museum of Art as Mirken Curator of Education in June 2007, becoming Mirken Director of Academic and Public Programs in January 2015. During her time there, she built the museum’s academic outreach, volunteer docent, and school-visit programs from the ground up; directed community outreach and programming; linked museum collections and exhibitions to curriculum at the college; and co-created public programs to serve audiences from the college to surrounding Maine communities and beyond.
Lessing holds a Bachelor of Arts in fine art from Earlham College, as well as a Master of Library Science degree, an MA in history of art, and a PhD in history of art from Indiana University in Bloomington. She serves on the Arts Education Committee for the Maine Art Commission and the curatorial advisory panel of the Gund Gallery at Kenyon College, and is executive editor of Panorama: Journal of the Association of Historians of American Art. She is also a city council member in Waterville, Maine.